The escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the autumn of 2020 significantly hampered safe access to education for children in the affected communities. Dozens of schools and kindergartens were damaged and could not be used to hold classes.
"Parents would worry about sending their children to school because of the hostilities. Although the situation was tough, we kept our school open so that students' education is not interrupted for prolonged periods," says Laman Marajzadeh, a teacher at Askipara secondary school. However, many other schools simply could not continue their classes.
"Many children were unable to attend school for over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions and escalation in the conflict," says Gulnara Hasanova, Access to Education Specialist at ICRC Azerbaijan Delegation. Through the programme, the ICRC could engage in meaningful dialogue with authorities in Azerbaijan and work together to help children regain safe access to education.
In a joint effort with the authorities, we conducted an assessment of over 40 education facilities affected by the conflict. As a result, a project was designed and implemented to ensure that students are able to go back to school. Nineteen schools and six kindergartens in three districts were repaired, restored and refurnished with support of ICRC. More than 4,300 students and 600 teachers benefited from our activities.
Support to safer access to education does not end here though. The ICRC has also been organizing training sessions for teachers and students on first aid, safer behaviour and psychosocial support with the help of our long-standing partner, the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society.
The ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of people affected by armed conflict and other violence. Among other things, we work to retain or regain safe access to education because every child deserves it.