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Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education



A visit to the Shatila Palestine Refugee Camp, Beirut

From Ethiopia to Chad and Palestine, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN’s fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, is helping millions of boys and girls affected by conflict around the world to pursue their dreams.

ECW offers affected children and youth an opportunity to learn free of cost – in safety and without fear –  to grow and reach their full potential.

A journey and a dream

Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education

At age nine, Bchiote Moorice fled embattled Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for her safety.

At only nine years old, Bchiote Moorice and her three younger brothers fled war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC) – without food, water or basic necessities.

After a harrowing escape, Bchiote and her siblings were reunited with their parents, and the entire family relocated to a refugee camp in western Ethiopia.

There, Bchiote and her brothers were finally able to focus on their education through an ECW funded programme delivered by UNICEF Ethiopia.

“I hope to attend university one year from now and work in a big corporate bank,” she said with a big smile.

Determination for education

Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education

Shahd, 11, with her Determination School teachers in Augusta Victoria hospital, Palestine.

Launched to transform an aid system that neglects millions of the most vulnerable children and adolescents, ECW has been able to help many boys and girls like Bchiote.

Shahd (not her real name), like many 11-year-olds her age, has big dreams. She wants to become president, or a doctor, or even the first female Palestinian astronaut. 

But, forced to spend most days receiving treatment at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, her chronic kidney illness loomed over her like a dark rain cloud.

However, Shahd has been able to continue her education at the Determination School – moving ever closer to turning her dreams into reality.

ECW funding has enabled the Palestinian Education Ministry to establish four Determination Schools, which provide flexible education to children unable to participate in regular classes because of chronic illnesses and long-term treatment. 

Some 150 students in Palestine are currently being provided with individualized plans, psychosocial support, and inclusive education to ensure they are not left behind in their studies.

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“I would rather go to regular school with other children, but the teachers and nurses at the hospital are very kind, and they make it okay,” said Shahd.

Perseverance, friendship, potential

Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education

Hadjé, Achta and Ngoleram sit under a tree in Chad, enjoying the shade and the fresh air from the lake.

On the last day of school before vacation, three inseparable friends in Chad share a bond of displacement and resilience.

Hadje Al-Hadj, Achta Dogo, and Ngoleram Abakar, attend the Kaya Primary School in the Lac Province of Chad, and live on a site for those displaced by the ongoing violence in the Lake Chad Region.

It was created in 2015 following attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist group. Recurrent violence and threats have forced more than 450,000 internally displaced persons and refugees to the Lac Province.

Hadje was just five years old when her family moved there from a neighbouring country. Now 11, through the programme she has been able to focus on her education and thrive, alongside the 500 other students from the Kaya site.

These and other youngsters at the Kaya Primary School in the Lac Province, have been able to access safe, quality learning environments – keeping their dreams and futures alive.

For other personal accounts of ECW’s work, click here.

More on ECW

  • Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the UN’s billion-dollar fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
  • The Multi-Year Resilience Programmein Ethiopia is funded by ECW and delivered by UNICEF Ethiopia.
  • 222 million crisis-impacted children are in need of urgent educational support. 
  • The Determination Schools in Palestine are supported by ECW, the Palestinian Ministry of Educationand strategic partners including Save the Children, UNDP, UNICEF and UNRWA. The programme is implemented in the West Bank and administered by the Ministry of Education as part of ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme.
  • At Kaya Primary School in Chad, 798 school kits and 36,831 backpacks were distributed to 36,831 students (including 16,932 girls) in Mamdi. Additionally, 452 teachers received teaching materials.
  • The school is supported by ECW in partnership with UNICEF, and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

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