After almost 12 years of crisis, more than 2.4 million children are out of school in Syria. Of these, 40% are girls, the most vulnerable category. In general, almost one in 5 children of school age does not attend any type of educational activity, and almost 3 million of them live in rural areas. This is the alarm launched by WeWorld, an organization committed for 50 years to guaranteeing the rights of women, girls and boys in 27 countries around the world including Italy. One of the main factors hindering the return to school is, in fact, the lack of school buildings, destroyed by the years of war on the territory. Structures put to the test by the ongoing conflict and, recently, also by the earthquake that struck the north of the country last February. In Aleppo alone, more than 263 school buildings have been damaged and some of those unharmed are used as temporary shelters for displaced families.
Since 2011 WeWorld has been present in Syria. The organization works mainly on emergency education and access to drinking water, ensuring safe and inclusive access to education for thousands of girls and boys. Precisely to the educational projects in Syria will be allocated part of the 5x1000 of the organization, with the campaign #RiempiamoiBanchi.
"Once again, millions of Syrian girls and boys are denied their right to education. Among them, there are also students who have helped to access a safe and inclusive education in recent years that today see the educational institutions where they went daily destroyed and which, certainly, will not be rebuilt soon. The consequences of the earthquake will affect the territory for years and addressing the education emergency in Syria is increasingly urgent considering that it is a sector that has suffered since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011", says Claudia Oriolo, Country Representative in Syria for WeWorld.
WeWorld's "Education in Emergency" program is based on an approach that supports not only girls and boys, but also families, schools and the whole community. The aim is to combat early school leaving and promote the reintegration of Syrian girls and boys through community awareness campaigns, organization of non-formal education activities in ad hoc centers. Teachers receive training, and students receive the necessary material to study. Among them Manal, 14, who dreams of becoming a doctor and manages to attend classes in a village near his thanks to WeWorld: "I used to carry books in a bag of rice, but now I like to learn".
Among those who drop out of school in Syria there are also many girls and boys with both motor and cognitive disabilities: WeWorld's work in the country has allowed their re-inclusion in education through interventions on the accessibility of school facilities. In fact, an infrastructural intervention was also carried out in 7 schools, with the safety of the buildings and creative interventions to welcome and attract boys and girls. In these schools, health facilities have also been rehabilitated, so as to make them accessible and to provide girls with safe spaces of intimacy. WeWorld has also rehabilitated 5 pumping stations and several water networks, benefiting over 20,000 people. These interventions were accompanied by awareness campaigns on hygiene promotion and measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic at school and community level, reaching over 40,000 people. The activities of the Project were accompanied by training for the staff of the Directorate of Education and the public water body, so as to make the intervention sustainable over time.
The coalition "Global Campaign for Education", of which WeWorld is part, with the support of the networks Link2007, CINI, AOI, AVSI and CISP asks the Italian Government to commit itself to protecting and promoting the right to education even in contexts of emergency and protracted crisis, through an initial contribution of at least € 15M total for the next 4 years to the United Nations Global Fund Education Cannot Wait (ECW).
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