Refugee Children Need Access to Education
The ongoing crisis in Syria has killed many, endangered the lives of many children refugees and stripped their rights to pursue their education.
This tragedy has been put into the spotlight by the remarks of Deputy Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the State Meridian Global Leadership Summit in Washington DC.
Mr. Blinken highlighted that for nearly five years now, the tragedy of the Syrian crisis has fallen most heavily on the smallest shoulders.
“Children who once looked forward to careers as doctors, as scientists, as entrepreneurs now struggle to find enough food to eat or clothing to keep warm.” – Mr. Blinken
The crisis has resulted in damage to their homes and schools that have been bombed out of existence by Assad’s regime.
In the worsening scenario, the chidren’s lives have been imperiled by daesh and violent extremism.
700,000 School-Age Syrian Refugee Chidren Without Access to Education
According to Mr. Blinken, in neighbouring countries particularly Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, more than 700,000 school-age Syrian refugee children are living in camps or communities without access to education.
And the saddest part also, the number is even higher inside of Syria, where more than 2 million children are out of school.
“Without school, these children are at risk of being exploited as laborers or forced into sex work.” – Mr. Blinken
Mr. Blinken also highlighted the downsides of not sending the child refugees to school.
For one, without school, children who have lost nearly everything are now literally in danger of losing their futures.
In addition, Mr. Blinken cited that the lack of education is one of the primary reasons families flee onward, not just from Syria, but onward from Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan into Europe-risking their lives on fierce seas or packing themselves into the sealed trucks of smugglers.
Meeting The Challenge
Accomodating the Syrian child refugees in schools in Lebanon and Turkey has been hailed by the United States. In fact, there are more Syrian children in Lebanese public schools than there are Lebanese.
According to Mr. Blinken, global response is crucial to meet this challenge faced by the child refugees.
He said Syrian refugee children need communities, need companies, need individuals to pitch in with extraordinary generosity to help them go to school and forget about war.
“So even as we work every day to end the conflict in Syria and to end the crisis, we are trying to bring our humanitarian and development teams together to get children back into school.” – Mr. Blinken
The United States is scaling up efforts, to answer the huge demand that there is, starting with education. They need new technologies to support vulnerable learners and new innovations to help teachers.
And finally, resolving the challenge of giving back education to children refugees to schools needs new commitments to dramatically expand the ability to reach each and every student.
Swelling Number of Syrian Refugees Crossing Lebanon’s Borders
In addition, the turmoil in Syria is forcing more and more people from their homes, with 30,000 people believed to have fled Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq over the past week alone.
With the growing flow of civilians fleeing from conflict, the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.
Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection.
OCHA reported that aid agencies continue to face significant access constraints to reaching people in need.
In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it needs additional funds of around $14 million for its response to the crisis in Syria. Along with its partners, UNICEF is providing assistance to Syrian children in need in areas such as health, nutrition, education and child protection.
There are over growing numbers of refugees in neighboring countries and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed many lives, mostly civilians.