School. An aspect of our lives that is usually a source of unwanted stress; more often a place we begrudgingly go, crankily absorbed in our own tired eyes and mandatory Monday mornings.

But what we have come to expect as a place of permanence doesn’t exist for others around the world. Instead of bemoaning the undoubtedly hard work receiving an education entails, we should be cherishing it for what it is: an opportunity many do not receive.

This year, more than 37 million children and adolescents live in circumstances surrounding emergency and conflict which have forced them out of their schools. Children are finding themselves in the middle of warzones or natural disasters, which disrupts any hopes of receiving a sound education. According to the organization which advocates for primary school children, Dubai Cares, attacks on education are the highest they have been in the past 40 years and the greatest since the height of the second world war.

The ongoing education crisis was a topic of discussion at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development which convened in July of this year, where it was agreed upon that efforts in investment and attention towards children in these circumstances are inefficient. In fact, in 2014, only one percent of overall humanitarian aid and two percent of humanitarian appeals went towards educating children.

In a Huffington Post article written by Dubai Cares, Chief Executive Officer Tariq Al Gurg said “With the average length of displacement for refugees now approaching 20 years — and over 70 percent of those children out of school — we know that these emergencies are no longer brief blips in the life of a child. Thus, we need a new platform and funding model that enables an immediate and sustained response.”

Currently, Dubai Cares’ program reaches 14 million children across 39 developing countries and recognizes a tremendous public support system, with over eight million individuals endorsing the #UpForSchool campaign, a petition supporting the belief that every child should have access to an education. Dubai Cares will continue to endorse efforts which help the humanitarian aid at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Week in September 2015.

However, there is good news for some of the most under-funded areas in the world currently experiencing emergencies and disasters. The United Nations has allocated $70 million in funds for aid to places like Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Nikki Schaffer

Sources: Dubai Cares, A World at School, Huffington Post, Brookings
Photo: Flickr

Did you know that 58 million children worldwide are not in school? An estimated hundred million more are not learning due to discrimination and other barriers. The recent #UpForSchool petition and campaign, developed by A World At School, has set out to change these figures and improve education for millions of children across the globe.

A World At School advocates that every child has the right to an education. Barriers throughout the world such as early marriage, forced work, war-torn conflicts, exploitation and discrimination prevent children from receiving the education they deserve. The #UpForSchool campaign is dedicated to helping children overcome these barriers.

The petition targets governments, politicians and leaders to make education their number one priority. It strives for progress to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, which states that all out-of-school children will achieve their right to education by the end of 2015.

A World At School was established in 2013 and has been working toward childhood education ever since. In order to help meet the 2015 deadline, the organization created a 500 day campaign encouraging others to take action. Every 100 days, the group plans to take on more of the key barriers preventing childhood education. The group promotes that “nothing changes without pressure” and that anyone can play a role in the cause by getting involved and signing the petition.

The campaign has also been encouraging young people to join forces and work together for the cause. It’s currently run by over 500 global youth ambassadors in 85 countries. On September 22, a youth rally was held at NYU’s Kimmel Center featuring world leaders from the U.N., A World At School and CNN. The rally was highly successful and hundreds of youth leaders turned up to sign the petition.

#UpForSchool currently has over 16,000 endorsers, and campaigners plan to make it the biggest petition in history. Their current target is over 12 million signatures worldwide. If you would like to get involved, you can sign #UpForSchool at

Meagan Douches

Sources: A World At School, A World At School 2, A World At School 3, Their World, Huffington Post
Photo: Talk Vietnam