Malala Yousafzai calls on rich countries to provide $1.4bn for education of Syrian refugee children

The education campaigner says it is only right rich countries provide this if they 'encourage refugees to stay in the region instead of coming to Europe'

Olivia Blair
Monday 01 February 2016 12:30 GMT
Yousafzai has opened a school in a refugee camp in Lebanon
Yousafzai has opened a school in a refugee camp in Lebanon

Malala Yousafzai has called on world leaders of rich countries to provide $1.4bn to educate Syrian children affected by the country’s civil war.

The Nobel Laureate’s call comes ahead of the Supporting Syria summit which will take place in London this week.

In an article co-written for the Guardian along with Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee and campaigner, Yousafzai says the five years since and every year subsequently that Syrian children are denied education “will cost them dearly in terms of lost opportunities for themselves, their families and their country.

The pair say it is the responsibility of the world’s richest countries to provide the funding for children that have had to flee to neighbouring countries like Jordan and Lebanon as it is these rich countries who “encourage refugees to stay in the region instead of coming to Europe, while not providing the funding border countries need to deal with the crisis”.

Yousafzai says although $1.4billion may sound like a lot, “the cost of inaction is far higher”.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency on Sunday, the campaigner spoke of her visits to refugee camps.

“I have met so many Syrian refugee children, they are still in my mind, I can’t forget them. The thought that they won’t be able to go to school in their whole life is completely shocking and I cannot accept it.

“We can still help them, we can still protect them. They are not lost yet. They need schools. They need books. They need teachers. This is the way we can protect the future of Syria.”

The Malala Fund, which the 18-year old and her father Ziauddin co-founded, reportedly released findings that 700,000 Syrian refugee children living in camps in neighbouring countries like Jordan are out of education.

In July, Malala spent her 18th birthday in a camp in Lebanon opening the Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School which provides secondary education to more than 200 Syrian girls who have fled the country.

The fund strives to provide education on a global scale to children, notably girls who are denied such schooling. This is a longstanding mission for Malala and her father who prominently campaigned for girls education in her native country of Pakistan until at age 15 she was shot in the head by the Taliban and forced to relocate to the UK.

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