Humanitarian emergencies across the world – from Syria to Myanmar, South Sudan, the Philippines and beyond – are disrupting the schooling of 75 million children, more than half of them girls.
The latest crisis affecting the Rohingya people, is a stark reminder. The Rohingya, an ethnic minority that has historically lived in Myanmar, now hold the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. Nearly 700,000 Rohingya arrived in neighboring Bangladesh between August and January. Of these new arrivals, nearly 60% of the refugees were children, many of them unaccompanied, whose education has now been temporarily disrupted.
Yet our responses to humanitarian emergencies do little to protect children's rights to learn – in fact, last year, less than 2% of all humanitarian aid went to education. The situation is worse for girls.
In some countries, girls in school are specifically targeted by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram because they know that educated women are more empowered. Wars and disasters force girls out of school and make them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in circumstances where they and their families will do anything to survive or have lost all protection.
It is critical to recognize the role of education - a basic human right - in keeping girls safe from harm by securing their education in crisis-affected areas. Educated girls are also better positioned help fight the effects of climate change and to broker peace.
Education Cannot Wait: a Fund for Education in Emergencies was launched at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and needs to raise $1.8 billion over five years to ensure kids in crisis can still access an education.
Through the fund, ECW can provide hope for their future, ensuring they have the structure and mental health needed to build resilience.
We renew our call for the governments of Japan and the United Arab Emirates to commit new funds to Education Cannot Wait, which can support education for girls and boys whose lives have been torn apart by violence.
Take action today to remind our leaders to support education in emergencies so that girls affected by crises can get back in school and start learning and healing again.