A girl’s life and opportunities are shaped by her education. However, responses to humanitarian emergencies do not prioritize the rights of millions of girls to pursue an education.
The world has just woken up to a crisis that sees 75 million children - over half of them girls - out of school because of conflicts and disasters in Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond.
Like Yakaka's daughter, Hazida, whose education was interrupted by Boko Haram's reign of terror, particularly targeting girls and schools, in Nigeria, but who was desperate to get back inside a classroom. Yakaka is so proud to see Hazida put on her uniform again and go to school each day.
And girls like Fatima, a Syrian refugee who wants nothing more than to escape the bombs, and return to her books. She and her friends at the Za'atari UNHCR refugee camp "roam the camp lanes, wanting to engage anyone new, wanting to talk, wanting to learn". But she is now stateless, without access or ability to attend local schools.
Girls are disproportionately affected, especially by conflict, with 4 of the 5 countries with the largest gender gaps in education facing war or insurgency. When girls miss out on an education, they lose the opportunity to change their situation and are more at risk of exploitation, forced labor and child marriage, especially in conflict settings. Books can help save and rebuild girls’ lives. We urgently need to get our leaders to prioritize girls’ education in humanitarian responses and to address the funding need of at least $8.5 billion annually to get all children in crisis around the world back into schools, with a chance for a brighter future.
Last year, we helped remind world leaders like Prime Minister Trudeau, Prime Minister Rasmussen and President Hollande that all boys and girls in crises and emergency settings deserve a quality education. We also had over 200,000 Global Citizens, including Rihanna and Salma Hayek, join other civil society organisations like the Malala Fund, A World at School, the Global Campaign for Education and Save the Children in support of Education Cannot Wait (ECW)— a new fund to provide education for all children affected by emergencies.
Of the $113.4M raised so far for ECW, nearly $42 million has already been allocated to help school 1.5 million girls and boys in Chad, Yemen, and Syria. Our target is to raise $3.85B over five years with at least $383M needed for year two, but there are several countries who still have not yet contributed.
Sign our petition calling for Italy, Japan and Germany to pledge their first, life-saving funds to the Education Cannot Wait fund before the first anniversary of the World Humanitarian Summit on 24 May. Together, we can get all girls back in school and learning.