Today London is host to the Supporting Syria Conference. World leaders gathered to rise to the challenge of helping the millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by the devastating civil war.
Photo: An image from the 2016 Send My Friend campaign film – watch it to hear from Syrian children about the impact the conflict is having on their education.
Syria is the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Billions of dollars in international aid are needed to support people caught up in the conflict.
Current funding to the 2015 UN appeals is far below – $3.3 billion against an appeal of $8.4 billion. As an international community, we must do more.
But raising billions in financial support alone will not provide a long-term solution. The conference will also need to set ambitious goals on education and economic opportunities to transform the lives of refugees caught up in the Syrian crisis – and to support the countries hosting them.
The educational dimensions of the conflict are massive; 2.1 million children in Syria out of school and 1.7 million child refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt have had their education disrupted.
Time is running out to avoid a whole generation being lost to education.
Apart from the denial of the basic right of children to their education, neglecting educational provision will have serious, far-reaching consequences for societies and economies across the region.
On the eve of the Syria Conference in London 12 international and local non-government organizations have issued a call on conference participants to develop a comprehensive plan for education
This urges the London conference to ensure all children and young people affected by the conflict are in education and learning during the 2016/17 academic year and for subsequent years. To deliver on that commitment they must:
- Close the education funding gap
- Enact policies that guarantee access to quality education inside Syria and in host countries
- Protect students, teachers and educational facilities from attack.
On February 4 in London, donors will meet with the countries that are currently hosting Syria’s refugees. This gives an unprecedented opportunity for those parties to fix this humanitarian emergency and in particular to focus on its educational crises.