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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

The Power of Education

Maria O'Sullivan

November 20th marked Universal Children’s Day when organizations all over the world worked to promote the welfare of kids, notably those in conflict areas or those fleeing them. Access to education is a staple right for refugee communities, especially considering that education opens the doors to a better future in these situations. After all, children will be the ones who will be tasked with change, fixing the problems past generations have set out for them.

Recently the UN Foundation released a blog with a list of five reasons why we should care (more) about a refugee’s access to education. The list highlights that all children have the right to education, and therefore it is imperative that this basic right is not withheld from children in dire situations, much like those of refugees. This is an especially pressing point as “refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.” Access to education should therefore be at the forefront of agendas, however “less than 2% of humanitarian aid goes towards education.” As noted above and in the list, refugee kids demonstrate the greatest need for this form of assistance, yet it is often neglected for other pinnacle points of aid in these critical situations. Not only will education be the key for a brighter future for refugee children, but as the UN Foundation notes, classrooms can also “provide a safe space for children.” With all the trauma they have experienced in their lives, a return to normalcy and a chance for socializing with fellow classmates can do wonders for mental health and promoting a better quality life. Education is powerful, and an educated generation is beneficial for the whole world. We cannot forget about these kids and their fundamental needs and rights.

ARDD has been well aware of the power of education which is why we have implemented the “Education for the Future” project along with our partners at the research foundation, Fafo, and funding by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This project was implemented through a rights-based lens with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights through the creation of positive learning environments and quality education for Syrian refugees and Jordanian school-aged children. ARDD understands the power of this generation in shaping the future and how vital proper education is, as well as a sense of unity between these host communities and refugee communities.

As the “Education for the Future Project” draws to a close, ARDD will be hosting a learning event on January 11, 2017 entitled “Fostering a Culture of Accountability for Improving the Learning Environment for Children in Jordan,” which will be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel from 10am-1pm. It is our role and the role of other organizations to protect children’s rights to education. Come join us at the event to see what we have learned through our project and how we can all improve learning environments for children in Jordan. Let’s take this step to empower our future generations as we reflect on the messages of Universal Children’s Day. 

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