Photo Courtesy of INHABITAT.COM.
Another version of this story originally appeared on A World at School on Sept. 18, 2015.
To hear the full interview, follow this link.
Tom Fletcher, Director of Global Strategy for the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) urged the British public to help Syrian refugee children get an education by signing the #UpForSchool Petition.
Tom appeared on the BBC’s flagship radio news show today, which has more than seven million listeners each week. He said world leaders should back a plan to get one million refugee children into school in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
“This is not a crisis that we suddenly discovered over the summer,” said Fletcher about the growing refugee crisis in the Middle East that is spreading into Europe. “This is something that has been growing for almost five years. One in three people in Lebanon now is a refugee. So the Lebanese are really struggling and they’ve gone through many of the questions that we’re facing now in the UK.”
Tom told the Radio 4 program that the United Nations General Assembly was meeting in a few days to determine the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years.
“We’re looking for people to back the #UpForSchool Petition to put pressure on these world leaders to provide the resource for this plan,” said Fletcher. “It’s backed by the British government, it’s backed by the UN envoy Gordon Brown, it’s backed by business.”
Photo by A World at School.
The petition is a youth-led campaign that has been signed by more than nine million people and it will be handed in to the UN General Assembly. It calls on the international community to keep its promise to get every child around the world into school and learning.
“This isn’t about just putting bombs into this problem, it’s about putting books in people’s hands,” said Fletcher when asked about measures to help end the Syrian conflict, now in its fifth year.
“We need to get hope to those kids who would otherwise be coming in our direction, hungry and angry and without hope and easy prey,” Fletcher said. “If we don’t put books in their hands someone else will put swords in their hands. It’s as simple as that.”