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144,000 Refugee and Hard-to-Reach Children In Bangladesh and Somalia to Access Quality Education

Education Above All (EAA) Foundation signs two new projects to partner with BRAC in Bangladesh and Mercy Corps in Somalia. EAA through its programme Educate A Child (EAC), will help over 144,000 out of school children displaced by or affected by conflict, to access primary education.

144,000 Refugee and Hard-to-Reach Children In Bangladesh and Somalia to Access Quality Education
March 28, 2018

EAA Foundation’s partnership with Mercy Corps will provide education for 109,372 Somali children over three years, many of whom have been displaced by conflict across the nation. In addition, EAA are today announcing an extended partnership with BRAC to provide primary education to 35,000 Rohingya refugee children currently displaced to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, many of whom are orphans, or have become separated from their families and are forced into adult roles.

Dr. Mary Joy Pigozzi, Executive Director EAA’s Educate A Child programme said:

“Children that have been forced to flee their home have been exposed to violence or war, and their lives and education have been completely disrupted. There is the risk that they will grow up unable to read or write, starved of opportunity without access to education. We want to ensure that every child, whether refugee, displaced and otherwise disadvantaged, is given the chance to not only survive, but to thrive and reach their full potential. We do that by working in partnership and ensuring that vulnerable children are not denied the opportunities that education provides.”

Safiqul Islam Ph.D, Director, BRAC Education Programme said:

“A Refugee crisis is something that is man-made. There are children without family and education, there are people without food and shelter and most importantly, many of them have lost hope in humanity.  This situation calls for help, and calls for humanity to every doorstep. BRAC, in cooperation with the govt of Bangladesh and other organisations, responded to it with all out efforts. As part of that we already have established 200 Learning Centers with an objective to create hope, developed learning and education related skills, built harmony, peace, and shared knowledge. We agreed with EAC to spread the light among 35,000 more children in coming days.”

Daud Adan, Somalia Country Director for Mercy Corps said: 

"Mercy Corps, along with Mercy USA and the American Refugee Committee, is thrilled to partner with Educate a Child to educate over 100,000 out of school children in Somalia. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Education, local communities and teachers to ensure vulnerable children, particularly girls, have the tools, facilities and support they need to go to school and thrive. We can build a stronger tomorrow for Somalia by empowering youth to achieve their ambitions and shape their future and the trajectory of their communities and nation.”

Conflict devastates the lives of many children and EAC will help to mitigate this in Bangladesh and Somalia.  The plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people is one of the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, according to the United Nations. In Somalia, it is estimated that only 30 per cent of school age children have access to learning opportunities and more than three million children of school age remain out of school.1

Somalia today has one of the lowest primary-enrolment and literacy rates in the world.2 Despite the bleak picture, all three zones of Somalia (South and Central Regions, Puntland and Somaliland) have the Education Sector Strategic Plans (ESSPs) that prioritize to accelerate progress towards achievement of quality universal primary education. The consortium, funded by EAC and Mercy Corps, will support each of the Ministries of Educations in the achievement of their individual plans and targets in increasing access to primary education for out of school children. The project focuses on reaching children including over-age youth that are hard-to-reach; providing support for those in marginalised communities and rural or pastoral areas; and supporting those facing poverty and girls with disabilities in peri-urban areas.

Since August 2017, over 655,000 Rohingya refugees, of whom 58 per cent are children under 18 years of age, have entered Bangladesh and are taking shelter in registered camps, existing makeshift settlements and host communities.3 The project from EAC and BRAC will target children who are currently residing in temporary refugee camp sites situated within the Bangladeshi port town of Cox’s Bazar. Learning currently takes place in poorly equipped temporary classrooms, with volunteer teachers who have little formal training. To ensure children’s education is not put on hold, EAC and BRAC plan to establish 500 learning centres in the region with water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, where 1,000 teachers will be enlisted and trained to provide these children with six-months of basic primary-level education, recreational activities, psychosocial support and complementary life-skill training covering health, hygiene, safety and security and reproduction issues.

Sources:

  1. UNFPA: http://analyticalreports.org/pdf/UNFPA_PESS_Vol_3.pdf
  2. UNICEF: https://www.unicef.org/somalia/education.html
  3. ReliefWeb: https://reliefweb.int/report/bangladesh/bangladesh-humanitarian-situation-report-no16-rohingya-influx-24-december-2017