During times of emergency, priorities turn to basic essentials like food, water and shelter. While these are clearly the most important, UNICEF argues that a fourth thing needs to be added as a necessity: education. UNICEF’s school in a box provides an incredible solution.
Education is one of the best ways to preserve normalcy, social resources and safety that is invaluable to primary school-aged kids. They are not alone in this belief; a study by Duke University Professor E. Frankenburg explains that people with access to education are better equipped to handle crises.
School in a Box: Education in Crisis Response
How can schools be efficiently supplied after emergency?
UNICEF came up with an answer that is a fast and affordable foreign aid success. Within three days of a tsunami or other crisis, they can deliver a ‘School in a Box‘ with three months worth of supplies for one teacher and 40 students. They are perfect for places recently hit with a natural disaster or a sudden influx of students.
It is all inclusive so that a classroom can be set up anywhere. In addition to the classic materials like paper, books and pens, the kit contains toys, a radio, educational posters and can of paint that can turn any flat surface into a blackboard.
Translations are available in most languages and UNICEF has tried to make it as non-culturally specific as possible. Boxes can be supplemented with locally produced materials and lesson plans.
This program was created in the mid-1990s, along with UNESCO’s similar Teacher Emergency Package. Originally, it was used in Rwanda but has spread to at least 12 countries including Pakistan, Haiti, Japan and even the United States. It has been a foreign aid success: in 2014 alone, 106,201 kits were distributed.
These kits can be sponsored for a mere $209.11 on UNICEF’s website. While this program is not a permanent replacement for locally supported schools, School in a Box provides a quick and effective way to give kids education during an emergency.
– Jeanette I. Burke
Photo: The Epoch Times