Nearly half of the world’s displaced people are children according to UN figures. Most have little or no access to education creating a lost generation when refugees eventually return to their native countries. Learning World looks at three examples in Jordan, New York and South Sudan.
In Jordan, 45,000 Syrian families have taken refuge in the Zaatari refugee camp. Fleeing bloody conflict in their country many have arrived with just a few items of clothing. UNICEF has set up makeshift schools where they teach 4,500 children.
Offering education to refugee children is no easy task. Adapting to the new teaching environment is not always easy for the youngsters, whilst some adults remain sceptical about sending their loved ones to a new school.
In New York, one organisation is taking on the task of coordinating the myriad educational NGOs. The aim of INEE is to share knowledge and opportunities to help meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to primary education by 2015. Language poses the biggest barrier to refugee education, but cuts in funding also threaten educational programmes.
From child refugee to international supermodel. Alek Wek is the poster girl for refugee success. She fled fighting in her native Sudan along with her family in 1991. Scouted at a market in London she soon became the first African to grace the cover of Elle magazine.
Now she works for other refugee children to have the same opportunities she had. She went to visit her native village Wau and the camp where her family used to live. It stirred memories of the past, but her work keeps her hopeful for the future.
latest Learning World
Reinventing education: when unusual methods make the only sense
Remembrance of things past in Haiti and Cambodia
Raising young peoples’ eyes to the stars
Public funding, private loans – whatever it takes to get an education
Taking the Tunisian Revolution into the schools: forging a 21st century system