NEW YORK (September 16, 2013) – As the new school year starts in Syria today, many children face extraordinary challenges to continuing their education. The conflict has left nearly 4,000 schools—or approximately one in five in the country—damaged, destroyed or sheltering internally displaced families.
Since the last school year, nearly two million Syrian children between the ages of six and 15 have dropped out of school due to displacement and violence.
UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other partners in Syria, is supporting a Back to Learning campaign which aims to reach one million conflict-affected primary school-aged children.
“This campaign aims to increase the enrolment of internally displaced children who missed out on education, some for the third year in a row,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “It is vital for children’s well-being, as well as for the future of the society, that they are supported in their return to learning.”
UNICEF is distributing school bags with stationery supplies such as pens and notebooks to one million children in all of Syria’s 14 governorates. Around half of these supplies are already on their way to the areas most in need such as Raqqa, Deir ez Zour, Homs, Hassakeh and rural Damascus, for distribution in schools.
In addition, UNICEF is providing 5,000 teaching-learning kits, 3,000 recreation kits, and 800 early childhood education kits.
Communities are being reached with public messages via media, billboards, posters, and flyers to encourage children to resume their education.
This year, UNICEF will be undertaking an innovative program to reach around 400,000 conflict-affected children unable to attend school. These children will be supported through a home-based self-learning program.
The program, designed for lower primary school students (grades 1-4) focuses on Arabic and English languages, mathematics, and science. It provides textbooks and training for teachers and parents to support children in self-learning.
Far more financial support and funding are needed to provide children inside Syria with access to education. Less than half of the $33 million UNICEF requested to carry out education programs in Syria has been received.
How to Help
For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts for Syrian children and families, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
Text: SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10.
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038
As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 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 additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org