A day of record-breaking support for Syria’s children

Children in a camp for displaced people in Syria.
Children play in a camp for displaced people in northern Syria.

In just a few weeks the world will mark a black day: the fifth anniversary of the outbreak of Syria’s brutal conflict.

Over the past five years, thousands of people have lost their lives, millions have been forced from their homes and children have watched their futures disappear before their eyes.

A staggering 2.8 million of them have not been able to go to school.

But perhaps finally, after suffering for so long, they now have reason to hope.

In London yesterday, some 70 world leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State John Kerry, held a conference to decide how best to help the people of Syria.

By the end of the day they had made some significant commitments.

Back in school and learning

In the build up to the summit, we urged the attending leaders to take serious steps and pledge the money needed to get Syria’s children back in to school and learning.

We also demanded action to protect children, teachers and schools from violence.

We kept up the pressure with a stunt before the conference that portrayed a ruined Syrian school.

Syrian children sit in a replication of a destroyed Syrian classroom.
Syrian children Abdullah and Dania sit in a destroyed ‘classroom’ as part of our stunt urging world leaders to improve access to education for the 2.8 million Syrian children out of school.

Largest amount ever raised

The summit itself got going early on Thursday morning and we watched it closely throughout the day for signs of progress.

Information began trickling through and we were able to begin to see what was – and wasn’t – achieved.

First the good news. More than $10bn was pledged to help Syrians affected by the conflict – the largest amount of money ever raised in a single day in response to a humanitarian crisis.

There were also ground-breaking commitments on refugee children’s education.

Countries, most significantly Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, who host the majority of Syrian refugees, pledged to ensure one million Syrian children not in school would have access to education by the end of the next school year.

If these countries back up their statements with effective action, it could change the future of a whole generation of Syrian children.

Could do better

However while many leaders made clear statements calling for an end to attacks on children, schools and teachers, the commitments needed to make this a reality were not made.

Now the challenge is to ensure that the promises that were made in London are kept, and that Syria’s children can get back to school and start learning again.

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Comments

  • Olympia papafily

    Education is a human right

  • I volunteered out in Samos, Greece, last December to help with the refugees arriving on the shores from Turkey. It was heartbreaking, especially seeing the children so traumatised after their journey and knowing they had so many more miles to travel. However we were able to help them a little by painting with them, playing games and generally adding a little fun to their lives. It is vital that these bright, intelligent children are able to return to school – if not there will be huge numbers of disaffected, frustrated and uneducated youth in a few years time.
    Let us hope that the funds which have been promised materialise and that the children can return to school. It is their right and we must ensure that they do.

  • Angela Page

    That is good news – IF it happens. The end of next school year is a long way off, and many children will have missed their entire school life by then. We need to be doing more: campaigning, fundraising, raising awareness about the needs of all children, not just from the Middle East, to have an education and something like a happy family life.

  • kathleen wilson

    Education for Children is a human right and we need to see it undertaken in a country we have chosen to bomb

  • M Leven

    ALL countries need to stop bombing children (and adults) in Syria – that’s the start of the solution.

  • All children should have a safe place in which to be educated and valued.
    Neither religion nor nationality or sex should discriminate a child and deprive them of this human right.
    As adults it is our responsibility to safeguard these rights for every child and to protect them from the effects of wars that are not of their making.
    Schools and places of safety in any war torn country are the essential requirement to allowing all children to reach their full potential.
    No school should be used to train young people for war or terrorism.
    Everyone who values humanitarian principles should do everything they can to protect children,”they are the adults of the future”Like our children and grandchildren they should have a voice and be free to live in this world without
    Fear of war or terrorism.
    Like Malala both girls and boys should be educated and helped to become responsible citizens of whichever country they chose to live in.
    Yours sincerely,
    Linda M Ellard

  • Mona Butrous

    This is a very good news,but I am worry about how long time it is going to take to put this pledge into real action,and I hope that a big percentage of the money will be spent on the children and not on the administrative issues which May occurred on its way to the site of refugees.
    On a different note we have to keep the pressure on our politicians not to arm the countries which are producing terrorists with their backwards ideology.
    We have to help to prevent more wars ,we have to treat the cause of misery of the children everywhere in this world.
    As a developed country we shouldn’t get involve in any regime change policy anywhere in the world,we have to be less greedy with getting cheap oil from the gulf and closing our eyes on their violations of human rights.
    If we don’t do all the above,our cause will be useless and we will be going into vicious circle again and again,and more children will be suffering and needs to be rescued.

  • Francis Joseph

    This is great news, in the best interest and safety of our innocent children.
    Save the Children must be seen to be the leader for the safety and protection of children, where there is war, child abuse, GFM, country poverty, poor governance, corrupt governments, poverty stricken villages and homes. In absence of this move, we will continue to see our innocent gifted and talented children continue to die and live in sub standard environments.
    We have to protect, promote and help families. That is the cradle for their security and development.

  • Judy Epstein

    It’s a CRIME to take education away from children. It’s their home that’s been invaded and destroyed their schools. Put YOUR children in their position! Millions of children with no opportunity to go to school. Are these 70 some world leaders going to be REAL leaders?

  • Gabriel Odoi Owor

    Thank you for the intiative to save the children through the campain to children of siria back to school, and London meeting out come. God bless you