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