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Telecoms operator Lebara supports education for displaced children

News Stories, 2 August 2011

© UNHCR/D.A.Khan
This classroom in Pakistan was renovated with help from UNHCR. Funds raised by telecoms operator Lebara will help UNHCR-run education programmes in Pakistan and five other countries.

LONDON, United Kingdom, August 2 (UNHCR) A leading European telecoms operator, Lebara, has this week launched a fund-raising drive to support UNHCR-run programmes to help more than 100,000 displaced children go to school in six countries around the world.

The British-based Lebara, as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, plans to raise 600,000 euros in the eight countries where it operates: Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Many of its customers in these countries are migrants or refugees.

The funds will be used to help forcibly displaced children in Colombia, Ghana, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Turkey, including support for school-related costs such as uniforms, transport and books. The donation will also provide language training, vocational skills and education for infants.

Lebara's assistance will also help UNHCR increase the number of children attending school and empower girls by promoting their access to education. "We are grateful for this crucial support from Lebara. Together we can give children affected by displacement access to this basic right of education," said Roland Schilling, UNHCR's representative in the United Kingdom.

Lebara also hopes to raise a further 400,000 euros to support education programmes run by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Morocco, Nigeria, Poland and Romania. "My fellow founders and I felt moved to mark this anniversary by giving something back to underprivileged children in countries where we have strong connections through our customers," said Yoganathan Ratheesan, chief executive officer of Lebara.

Every child of concern to UNHCR should have the right to education. However, one third of the world's refugee children are still missing out on primary education, and three out of four do not have access to secondary education. Other problems include over-crowded classrooms, lack of teaching and learning material, unrecognized diplomas, restricted curricula and unqualified teachers.

Education serves as an important tool to break out of the cycle of illiteracy and poverty that often leaves refugee families in a state of hopelessness and despair. It adds provides the skills and knowledge for a better future.

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Education

Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes.

DAFI Scholarships

The German-funded Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative provides scholarships for refugees to study in higher education institutes in many countries.

Children

Almost half the people of concern to UNHCR are children. They need special care.

Refworld – Children

This Special Feature on Child Protection is a comprehensive source of relevant legal and policy documents, practical tools and links to related websites.

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Related Internet Links

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Education for Displaced Colombians

UNHCR works with the government of Colombia to address the needs of children displaced by violence.

Two million people are listed on Colombia's National Register for Displaced People. About half of them are under the age of 18, and, according to the Ministry of Education, only half of these are enrolled in school.

Even before displacement, Colombian children attending school in high-risk areas face danger from land mines, attacks by armed groups and forced recruitment outside of schools. Once displaced, children often lose an entire academic year. In addition, the trauma of losing one's home and witnessing extreme violence often remain unaddressed, affecting the child's potential to learn. Increased poverty brought on by displacement usually means that children must work to help support the family, making school impossible.

UNHCR supports the government's response to the educational crisis of displaced children, which includes local interventions in high-risk areas, rebuilding damaged schools, providing school supplies and supporting local teachers' organizations. UNHCR consults with the Ministry of Education to ensure the needs of displaced children are known and planned for. It also focuses on the educational needs of ethnic minorities such as the Afro-Colombians and indigenous people.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Education for Displaced Colombians

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Chad: Education in Exile

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