Feb 18, 2020

Update: Increasing Access to Education in Syria

UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Alaa Kansapa Obeid Camp
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Alaa Kansapa Obeid Camp

Dear Friend,

In March 2020, the Syrian Crisis will enter its tenth year. This anniversary represents ten years that Syrian children have lived within the context of the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. It is estimated that 11.7 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including 5 million children.

At the end of 2019, approximately 2.1 million Syrian children were out of school, representing nearly one third of the school-age population, and 1.3 million children were at risk of dropping out. The partnership between Educate A Child, UNICEF, and UNICEF USA has provided children with a flexible approach to learning and has given out-of-school children the opportunity to realize their right to education. As of 2019, more than 250,000 children have been reached through accelerated learning and self-learning programs. No other education initiative is reaching similar numbers of children within the country.

Zaid’s Story

Zaid was only in the fourth grade when fighting in his home country of Syria forced him and his family to leave their village. As a result of the conflict, he was unable to return to school for the next five years.

Being away from home was hard for Zaid and, without school, he felt like he was out of options.

“It would be impossible to get back to learning after eight years out of school” Zaid thought. However, when Zaid learned that the Kansapa Self-Learning Center was offering education for out-of-school children just like him, he began to feel hopeful.

The Self-Learning Program, a joint venture between Educate A Child (EAC) —a global program of the Education Above All Foundation — and UNICEF, allows out-of-school children between the ages of 6 and 19 to catch up with their peers by studying at home or in community centers with the help of volunteers or caregivers. Children benefitting from the program learn English, Arabic, math and sciences, including physics and chemistry.

“I would love to be re-enrolled in formal school as I want improve myself and have a better future,” Zaid said.

Zaid knew he was behind on his education, so he enrolled in the Self-Learning Program as soon as possible in December 2018. He was excited to catch up on all the missed years of education and to, one day, continue his education in formal schooling. In just a short amount of time, Zaid quickly progressed and made friends with other students in the program and focused his energy on his studies.”

I have always dreamed of being back to school and having friends, and that dream has come true now,” exclaimed Zaid.

Zaid is one of the thousands of children who dream of having such an opportunity to renew their hope and go back to learning. In 2020, UNICEF plans to reach 30,000 new Syrian children with learning opportunities. Your continued support will allow UNICEF to reach this goal. On behalf of the children of Syria, thank you.


In Partnership,

Whitney Simon

Feb 13, 2020

Update: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis


Dear Friend, 

In August 2017, when hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar fled to Bangladesh, the world took note. Of particular concern was the fact that out of the 730,000 Rohingya refugees flooding Bangladesh’s beaches and paddy fields, almost 60 percent of them were children. Today, around 910,000 Rohingya have settled in Cox’s Bazar District in southern Bangladesh. Life for these refugees, especially for children, is characterized by uncertainty. Despite having access to some basic services, Rohingya children remain highly dependent on short term aid and live in precarious conditions, particularly in the cramped camps where living conditions are difficult and dangerous.

 In 2019, UNICEF noted an increase in child exploitation within the Rohingya refugee camps. In Bangladesh, Rohingya children are not registered at birth. Consequently, with a lack of legal identity these children are unable to secure refugee status and often become appealing targets to criminal groups for labor and sexual exploitation. Girls in particular are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and gender-based violence.

UNICEF is also concerned by the number of children who are unable to obtain an education.  Although UNICEF has been able to provide access to learning for nearly 213,000 Rohingya children ages 4 to 14 through 2,167 learning centers, there are still 25,000 children who are not attending any learning program. Furthermore, 97 percent of children aged 15 to 18 years old are not attending any type of education facility. UNICEF fears that these children run the risk of becoming a “lost generation” if there are unable to continue to receive an education while displaced.

Thanks to your support, UNICEF is working closely with partners to provide essential water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education and child protection services to the Rohingya refugees.

In 2019 UNICEF and partners achieved the following results for Rohingya refugees:

  • More than 565,000 people reached with access to safe water
  • Nearly 57,000 children reached with psychosocial support services
  • More than 73,000 children reached with pentavalent three vaccine
  • Nearly 213,000 children aged 4 to 14 enrolled in emergency non-formal education
  • Nearly 12,000 children treated for severe acute malnutrition

In 2020 UNICEF desires to continue to scale up its response amongst the Rohingya refugee population. In particular, the quality of education requires further improvement and while access to water has improved, there are still persistent issues with quality. Your continued support will allow us to continue to maintain the livelihoods of Rohingya children in the coming year. Thank you for your partnership and for all you do to create a better world for children. 


Whitney Simon 

Dec 6, 2019

Update: UNICEF in the Central African Republic

UNICEF/UN08032/Le Du
UNICEF/UN08032/Le Du

Dear Friend,

With over 2.9 million people in need, including 1.5 million children, the Central African Republic (CAR) is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, given the proportion of the population in need of assistance.

Thanks to your support, UNICEF continues to focus on the protection needs of children, including their release from armed groups, reunification with their families and the provision of psychosocial support, while scaling up programming addressing sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF will maintain gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and services on settlements for displaced people across the country and improve immunization rates in crisis-affected areas. Activities also support the resilience of children and their communities, including through cash-based approaches in emergency situations, and strong accountability to affected populations.

Thanks to contributions like yours, UNICEF and partners reached the following various programmatic goals, as of August 2019:

  • More than 18,000 children with severe, acutre malnutrition admitted for therapeutic care;
  • More than 30,000 children vaccinated against measles;
  • Nearly 210,000 crisis-affected people accessing safe water;
  • Nearly 53,000 children reached with psychosocial support, including access to child-friendly spaces;
  • Nearly 1,000 children released from armed groups benefiting from socioeconomic reintegration and support;
  • More than 76,000 boys and girls in crisis-affected areas accessing education

UNICEF will continue working to ensure children in the Central African Republic survive and thrive. From access to health and nutrition services to education opportunities, access to safe water and essential psychosocial support, your contribution is vital.

In Partnership,
Whitney Simon

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