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On Malala’s birthday, 419 teachers in DR Congo and Ethiopia ask that European Commission President Barroso work to ensure that children whose lives are affected by conflict are not denied their right to an education.
419 teachers working in crisis-affected areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and refugee camps in Ethiopia have joined Malala Yousafzai’s call to the world’s leaders to support children’s right to education, asking the European Union to step up its commitment to funding education for children in crisis situations around the world.
In an open letter to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the group of teachers welcomed the new EU Children of Peace initiative set up with funds from the EU’s Nobel Peace Prize, while urging that “the EU continue to fund education in emergencies, making it part of every humanitarian response.” Currently, only two per cent of humanitarian funding goes to support education.
The signatories to the letter are currently teaching in schools set up under the EU Children of Peace Initiative by Norwegian Refugee Council in DRC and Save the Children in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia.
They describe themselves “as teachers working with children whose lives continue to be profoundly affected by conflict…many of whom, like Malala, have taken enormous risks simply to attend school”, and declare that “schools provide some safety and order for children living in the chaos of conflict, and a space to learn skills for a future after conflict.”
“Many Congolese children are still without access to education. In an emergency setting like the Eastern part of DRC, getting kids into school is not prioritized by many donors. This leaves children at even greater risk of all the dangers that come with conflict, and it puts this region at risk of losing an entire generation. All children should have access to education especially in times of crisis, and that education provides a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos of conflict,” said Cheick Ba, NRC’s Country Director for DRC.
Ned Olney, Save the Children’s Country Director for Ethiopia, said: “Many children continue to be disadvantaged because their education is disrupted by emergencies – whether conflicts or natural disasters. The Children of Peace Initiative has allowed us to help more than 5,000 children in Dollo Ado refugee camps to attend school. Projects like this one offer a huge opportunity to address the education needs of the most vulnerable children and help ensure that girls and boys everywhere have access to a quality education.”
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