Global Champions and $1 Billion Investment Needed to Prevent a Lost Generation of Syrian Children

UNICEF, UNHCR, Save the Children, World Vision and other partners today called for governments, aid agencies and members of the public to become champions for the children of Syria and support the “No Lost Generation” strategy to protect a generation of Syrian children from a life of despair, diminished opportunities and broken futures.

NEW YORK (January 7, 2013) — UNICEF, UNHCR, Save the Children, World Vision and other partners today called for governments, aid agencies and members of the public to become champions for the children of Syria and support the “No Lost Generation” strategy to protect a generation of Syrian children from a life of despair, diminished opportunities and broken futures. 

Through the $1 billion strategy, the organizations are focusing donor and public support on critical education and protection programs to lift Syrian children out of misery, isolation and trauma. The strategy is being publically unveiled one week ahead of a major donor conference in Kuwait for humanitarian aid for Syria. 

A major public engagement campaign under the hashtag #childrenofsyria is also being launched, using social media to enlist influential supporters and public contributors. 

“As the conflict approaches another bitter anniversary, we cannot sit and watch a generation disappear in front of us,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.  “Now is the time for champions for the children of Syria, now is the time for the world to step up and provide these children with fresh hope and confidence for their future. If we fail these children now, an entire region will lose a generation of potential leaders, teachers engineers, doctors and—above all—peacemakers, upon whom the hope for a stable, healthy and prosperous society depends.” 

For nearly three years, Syria’s children have been the most vulnerable of all victims of the conflict, seeing their families and loved ones killed, their schools destroyed and their hopes eroded. They have been wounded either physically, psychologically or both. Children have also become vulnerable to the worst types of exploitation including child labor, recruitment into armed groups and forces, early marriage and other forms of gender-based violence. 

More than one million Syrian refugees are children, of whom more than 425,000 are under the age of five. The vast majority of these refugees have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.  Among them, nearly 5,000 children have been identified as being separated from their families. The situation for the over three million displaced children inside Syria is even direr. 

UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision and other partners across the region will channel the $1 billion into programs that, in partnership with governments and local communities, deliver safe education;  protection from exploitation, abuse and violence; psychological care and support; and offer more opportunities for social cohesion and stability in an already volatile region.

These programs include strengthening national and community-based child protection systems, which respond to the needs of girls, boys and families at high risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.

The initiative will also scale up access to quality education, through formal and non-formal approaches. It will introduce accelerated curricula for children who have been out of school, vocational training, training of teachers, and incentive programs, to create safe environments that reduce children’s exposure to further risks.

Inside Syria, safe access to education for school-age children and adolescents who are internally displaced is absolutely critical.  The “No Lost Generation” initiative will provide remedial education and psychological support organized in school clubs for pre-schoolers and other out-of-school children. 

“The children of Syria have endured daily horrors and misery we can only imagine, and their dreams for the future are in danger of being crushed,” said Lake.  “Preventing the loss of this generation requires more support, bigger and bolder commitments and renewed solidarity to avoid a continuing cycle of violence, hatred and intolerance in a region that has suffered too much.” 

A special website has been established at www.championthechildrenofsyria.org that tells the stories of children affected by the conflict, and shows how investments in children can deliver important dividends, not just for the current victims of the war, but for the longer-term future of Syria and the wider region.

Most of the funding for the No Lost Generation initiative is being sought through two existing appeals—the Regional Response Plan aimed at addressing the needs of Syria’s child refugees and The Syrian Humanitarian Assistance response plan, which addresses the needs of Syrian children who are internally displaced. 

Attention broadcastersBroadcast quality PSAs available at http://weshare.unicef.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2AM4080XNXNX 

Campaign hashtags: #childrenofsyria #NOlostgeneration

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About UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.  

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org