Amal and George Clooney Team Up with UNICEF to Help Refugees

July 31, 2017

The high-wattage human rights activist couple is helping displaced Syrian kids get back to school.

Defenders of the neglected and exploited around the world, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband, actor and human rights activist George Clooney, are stepping up to make sure all the world’s children get the opportunities they deserve. The couple’s Clooney Foundation for Justice announced a $2.25 million partnership with UNICEF, which includes a generous donation from Google.org and an additional $1 million technology grant from HP Inc. The partnership will fund seven schools in Lebanon to help 3,000 currently out-of-school Syrian refugee children get back on track.

Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society.... We don't want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society,” Amal and George Clooney said. “Formal education can change that. That’s our goal with this initiative. We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The devastating six-year Syrian civil war has affected 80% of the country's children. More than 5 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries. Lebanon, which has the world’s highest per capita refugee population, has been particularly affected by an influx of more than 1 million displaced Syrians. Schools are overflowing beyond capacity and students must attend in double shifts.

“How can children become the workers and leaders of their countries someday if they have not had the education and support they need to reach their full potential?” asked UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By supporting the work of UNICEF and our partners to deliver education to every child affected by the conflict in Syria, the Clooney Foundation for Justice is not only investing in the futures of individual children, it is investing in the future of the entire region. UNICEF is deeply grateful for this critical funding.”

 

Seeking justice for those in need is familiar territory for the Clooneys. The Clooney Foundation for Justice was established in late 2016 by George and Amal Clooney to advance justice in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world.

 

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Photo at top: Lebanese and displaced Syrian children attend school in double shifts at the overcrowded Maalaka public school in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. © UNICEF/UN043138/Rich