(Vatican Radio) Nearly one in four of the world’s school-aged children are in desperate need of educational support, with only 2% of funds from humanitarian appeals being directed at education.
This is why the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is launching #EmergencyLessons, a new international campaign, aimed at highlighting the importance of education for children in countries affected by conflict and natural disaster worldwide. The campaign focuses on the real-life experiences of children living in these countries, and the lengths they go to in order to obtain an education.
The global launch took place at the Torquato Tasso high school in Rome, where students heard from a variety of speakers. Georgia Gogarty attended the event and spoke with Marilena Viviani, Director of the Geneva Liason Office for UNICEF; Samantha Cristoforetti, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Italian European Space Agency astronaut; and Laurence Argimon-Pistre, the Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Rome.
The social media driven campaign aims to reach 20 million young Europeans in order to raise awareness “of children and young people in crisis situations”. It presents an opportunity for growth and for young people to “develop an intelligence that allows you to be open minded to other human beings”, who are very removed from everyday situations in Europe.
Schools in these conflict countries provide a “safe haven”, sheltering children from threats including human trafficking and recruitment from armed forces. In the long term they enable children to have opportunities and to build a life in the future. Without education, “there will be a lost generation”, something that will be tackled at the World Humanitarian Summit next week in Instanbul.
As more than 75 million children worldwide continue to be affected by crises on a daily basis, #EmergencyLessons aims to inspire millions of Europeans to raise their voices on behalf of those children and adolescents whose education has been interrupted.