On 24 January 2019 the world will recognise the International Day of Education.
Education is an inarguable human right, and it plays a vital role in the development of peace and security across the world.
Given the incredible hardships and obstacles they have encountered, many Syrian children living as refugees have little or no access to education.
Fortunately, humanitarian organisations and the international community are working to remedy this in a number of significant ways.
One such program is UNICEF’s No Lost Generation (NLG) initiative, which works to support children affected by the crises in Syria and Iraq.
When it launched in 2013, NLG committed to bringing education to the 1.75 million Syrian children out of school and to supporting the 1.35 million at risk of dropping out.
By 2017, the efforts of the initiative saw 175,987 children enrolled in non-formal education inside Syria and over 1 million provided with essential school supplies.
The progress was even greater in refugee hosting countries like Lebanon and Jordan, where over 1 million children were enrolled in formal education. On top of this, NLG was able to give a significant number of these children access to quality community-based child protection and psychosocial support services—a crucial move, seeing as many of these young people have witnessed violence and experienced deep trauma.
The good work of the No Lost Generation initiative wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of the international community. In order to protect the future of young Syrians through programs like NLG, the UK and the UN have committed £475 million to education initiatives.
And the success is ongoing. In this year alone, the Department for International Development has supported over 300,000 students, of which 49% are female, by giving them access to safe, inclusive and quality learning opportunities in environments which foster psychosocial well-being.
The conflict in Syria has now lasted for almost a decade. In that time, millions have been displaced, the majority of whom are children. The country’s future depends on them, and their success hinges on education.
While the International Day of Education may seem like little more than a date on the calendar, it serves as a sharp reminder of a wider truth: with education, the children of Syria will have the tools to rebuild their country. Without it, peace seems like a dim prospect.