Aug 8, 2018

Update: Education for Children in Syria


Dear Friend,

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Emergency Response includes a program reaching children still in Syria and providing them with the quality education they have been missing out on, so they can continue to pursue stable and sustainable livelihoods.

As the protracted conflict in Syria in its eighth year, the crisis has had a devastating effect on the country and its people. No child has been spared the horror of war. By the end of 2017, more than 700,000 children were living in hard-to-reach areas, where humanitarian access remains a challenge, and more than 124,000 children were living in besieged areas, which have been cut off from humanitarian assistance.

Nearly 5.8 million school-age children and youth in and out of school are in need of education assistance. The lack of protective inclusive learning environments, coupled with a shortage of appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, seriously hinders regular schooling. Over 7,000 schools in Syria – one in three – have been destroyed, damaged or are being used as shelters for displaced families or for military purposes.

A pervasive sense of fear and psychological distress has emerged among children, parents, teachers and community members, who are reluctant to send their children to school even when schools are operational. Attacks on schools continue to result in death, injury and loss of education infrastructure and investments. These attacks, and the violence that children and school personnel face traveling to and from school, create a climate of fear that decreases the likelihood that children will go to, and stay in, school.

Thus, a quality alternative education model is critical to reaching out-of-school children in Syria and to retaining those children who are in school. It is against this backdrop that UNICEF developed the Self-Learning Program in Syria. The SLP enables children with limited or no access to school to continue their learning at home, in non-governmental organization centers or in community learning centers. The program helps children both catch up with lost learning and prepare for placement tests and national exams, ultimately offering a pathway for reintegration into formal education systems and opening up a lifetime of possibilities.

The Self-Learning Program adopts a community-based approach for out-of-school children in both government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas in Syria. By working directly with NGOs and communities, ownership and accountability are shared between relevant authorities and their communities, improving the prospect for education of out-of-school children in very disadvantaged locations.

The Self-Learning Program reaches children between 6 and 19 years old, covering subject matter from Grades 1 to 9. The key to the Self-Learning Program is the Self-Learning Materials. Fifty different Self-Learning Material, including topics such as Arabic, English, mathematics and science. All of them are available, giving children a wide range of knowledge that will propel them towards brighter futures.

Together with partners, UNICEF is engaged in ongoing work to implement the Self-Learning Programin a way that is mindful of the deeply complex operational environment in Syria. With large populations of displaced persons, widespread violence, multiple armed groups and civilian authorities vying for control, a fractured and overstretched education system and widespread poverty, Syrian families find it extremely challenging to prioritize education when they have difficulty meeting even their basic daily needs

Thank you for your continued support of UNICEF’s Humanitarian Emergency program. Your support is extremely valuable to impacting the lives of children still in Syria.

Jul 31, 2018

Update: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons


Dear Friend,

 July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons – a global day of awareness as well as a call to action to end this exploitative industry. To honor this day, End Trafficking co-hosted a Twitter chat with the U.S. Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management Technical Assistance (REMS TA) Center to talk about the role of school communities in addressing child trafficking. We heard contributions from the following organizations about what schools can do or are already doing to keep children safe from exploitation:

  • 3Strands Global Foundation
  • A21
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • SAFE Center
  • SchoolHouse Connections
  • Students Opposing Slavery, President Lincoln’s Cottage
  • UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Homeless Education

Want to learn what YOU can do to end trafficking? Follow @EndTrafficking and @remstacenter and review the conversation by searching the hashtag #EveryChildFree on Twitter.


Jul 25, 2018

Update: South Sudan

Dear Friend

In 2011, South Sudan became the world’s youngest country, and out of 3.4 million babies born since, about 2.6 million have been born in war. Conflict and underdevelopment have plagued South Sudan, leaving its children out of school, malnourished and vulnerable to disease, abuse and exploitation. The prospect of a better future following the country’s independence in 2011 was short-lived following the eruption of a civil war in 2013.

“As South Sudan turns seven, a seemingly endless war continues to devastate the lives of millions of children,” said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director who visited Juba, Ganiyel and Bentiu in the war-ravaged country earlier this year. “Warring parties can and must do more to bring back peace. The children of South Sudan deserve better.”

Although 800 children have been released from armed groups since the beginning of the year, an estimated 19,000 children continue to serve as fighters, cooks, porters and messengers and to suffer sexual abuse – up from 500 when the conflict first broke out in 2013.

The proportion of people who do not know where their next meal is coming from went up from 35 per cent in 2014 to nearly 60 per cent at present, with some areas of the country one step away from famine.

Malnutrition rates are at critical levels. More than 1 million children are malnourished, including 300,000 severely so and at risk of death. 

The conflict has also pushed hundreds of thousands of children out of school, with 1 in 3 schools damaged, destroyed, occupied or closed since 2013. South Sudan now has the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world. More than 2 million children – or more than 70 percent of those who should be attending classes – are not receiving an education.

Efforts to aid those in the greatest need are also being hampered. More than 100 aid workers have been killed in the violence since the conflict began in 2013, including a driver for UNICEF just last week.    

The birth of the world’s youngest country seven years ago set off a massive return of refugees to their newly independent nation. However, since the conflict started in 2013, more than 2.5 million – including over 1 million children – have again fled fighting in South Sudan to seek safety in neighboring countries.

As UNICEF works to support this refugee crisis, we thank you for your continued support to our emergency response programming.

Thank you,



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