Save the Children appeals to Congress to help the millions of children out of school in war-torn countries
The appeal for Congressional support of the recently introduced Education for All Act of 2007 comes on the first anniversary of Save the Children's Rewrite the Future campaign which seeks to address the educational needs of an estimated 39 million children who live in areas of war and conflict and cannot go to school.
In June, Save the Children joined other humanitarian aid organizations in welcoming the introduction of the Education for All Act, which offers comprehensive solutions to protect and educate children left vulnerable by war and conflict. The legislation ensures that all children have access to quality education and supports training teachers, eliminating school fees and including education along with food, water and shelter as part of every humanitarian emergency response.
In areas of war and conflict, education is often among the first casualties. Schools close, teachers flee or are recruited into the military, and school systems are no longer funded. This puts children at risk, making them easier targets for recruitment as child soldiers, or exploitation as cheap labor. It also increases their vulnerability to trafficking and abuse.
"Save the Children is working in partnership with others to deliver high-quality education programs to children in conflict-affected countries," said Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children, based in Westport, Conn. "So far, 3.4 million children in more than 20 countries have benefited from Rewrite the Future programs. However, much more is needed and that is why we are calling on Congress for its support. American leadership is required to galvanize a successful international effort to get these children in school."
To date, Save the Children has helped children in numerous war-torn countries benefit from school. Examples include:
Jordan/Iraq: Save the Children is supporting kindergartens and other early childhood education centers for displaced Iraqi children and helping Iraqi parents enroll their children in primary school. In addition, Save the Children is advocating for regional solutions that protect externally displaced Iraqi children until they can return home.
Darfur: Save the Children recently built and opened several new schools, including pre-schools, and established many safe-spaces for children in the area. Thousands of children have been able to attend school for the first time in years. Save the Children continues to build schools in the region.
Afghanistan: Save the Children has worked to eliminate barriers children face in getting to school safely. In addition, Save the Children is working to make schools in the country a safe haven for children who live amidst the violence.
Education is essential to protecting children during conflict and to rebuilding nations in its aftermath. It is a key to alleviating poverty and reducing the risks of perpetual conflict by helping lay the groundwork for personal growth, economic growth and political development. Save the Children is committed to ensure that children have a chance to go to school and to make children's schools safer, better places to learn and with better trained teachers.