Educate A Child targets 61 million children missing out on basic education due to poverty, conflict, natural disaster and prejudice
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser launched a global initiative on November 14 at WISE 2012, that will deliver real progress towards the goal of bringing quality primary education to all the world’s children.
With 61 million children worldwide still deprived of their fundamental right to education, the Educate A Child (EAC) initiative is partnering with the world’s most expert organisations to bring high quality learning to children affected by extreme poverty, conflict, natural disaster, prejudice, or any of the factors that can make them hard to reach by conventional means.
Speaking at the launch of Educate A Child at the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) in the Qatari capital, Sheikha Moza said: “Educate A Child will reignite the world’s commitment to the hardest-to-reach children, the forgotten children. Our mission is to turn attention back to the disadvantaged children of today, who could become confident adults tomorrow, able to fulfil their potential, if we just give them the opportunity.”
Educate A Child is already supporting 25 projects in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, usually on a matchingfunding basis. At the time of its launch, there are already some 500,000 children in EAC funded projects. The initiative is seeking further partnerships to help many more. Fostering innovation and creativity, it aims to share solutions that can be scaled up to reach millions of children and deliver sustainable education over the long term.
Current EAC projects range from low cost one-room schools in Indian urban slums that provide flexible learning hours in line with children’s working needs, to floating boat schools in flood-riven areas in Bangladesh, to projects working with traditional communities such as Kenya’s Maasai where education for girls is often cut short by cultural norms such as early marriage.
“Right now, millions of children are being robbed of their fundamental right to quality education,” Sheikha Moza said.
“Children in war-ravaged villages in South Sudan, or in overcrowded refugee camps in Yemen. Children living in the flooded plains of Bangladesh, or in isolated or marginalised communities in Kenya. Right across the world, because of disaster, because of poverty, children are being denied a chance to change their destinies. We can change this, and because we can, we must.”
While some progress has been made in recent years towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education (MDG2), it has shown signs of stalling. Educate A Child aims to bring renewed momentum to global efforts.
Almost half of all out-of-school children worldwide – 28 million – live in countries affected by conflict. Educate A Child is working to support many schools and learning centres for refugee children who have fled fighting or disasters such as drought and famine, to enable them to continue their education in spite of having left their homes.
“Wherever we find children, we find hope, resilience and determination,” Sheikha Moza said. “If we provide access to quality education, we know that amazing things can happen – to individuals, to families and to communities. The benefits cannot be overstated.”
Educate A Child builds on Sheikha Moza’s mandates as a UNESCO Special Envoy on Basic and Higher Education, a United Nations Millennium Development Goal Advocate and a Steering Committee member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Education First initiative.
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