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The Issue

In Crisis

Happy young girl, dirty face

Many children have lost friends and family members, and some have lost everyone they loved. In crowded camps and impoverished communities, children face hunger, cold, and the threat of disease, along with the risk of violence.

Getting an education is nearly impossible for these 50 million children. In many cases, there are no educational facilities available at all, but even when there are, child refugees and underprivileged children face huge obstacles.

Food and shelter are not enough to give these children a chance at a better future. They need a source of strength and hope — a tool that can help them build resilience and give them a chance at a better tomorrow. They need education.

There has been a lot of discussion, and some progress in educating underprivileged and vulnerable communities worldwide. But despite the work of governments, NGOs, community leaders, and volunteers around the world, millions of children are still being left behind.

According to the UNHCR, over 3.5 million refugee children were deprived of the opportunity to attend school last year. For older children, the situation is even worse. Only 23% of adolescent refugees are enrolling in secondary school, compared to 84% of adolescents worldwide. Even among primary school children, 39% of refugees — nearly 2 in 5 child refugees — missed school last year.

As these children grow older, the impact of lost educational opportunities only gets more severe. Just 1% of refugees are enrolled in tertiary education, compared to 36% of children worldwide.

Lacking educated leaders for the next generation, their communities face even greater difficulty overcoming the tremendous trauma, economic and cultural obstacles they face. This can lead to increased rates of poverty, violence and despair within the community, and contribute to continued conflict on a global scale.

Even with the emotional tools to face their trauma and the skills to build a successful future, the challenges these children face are daunting. Without them, building a future free of needless suffering and displacement is all but impossible. Food and shelter are not enough to give these children a chance at a better future. They need a source of strength and hope — a tool that can help them build resilience and give them a chance at a better tomorrow. They need education.