The 24th of January marks the International Education Day
On this occasion, we assure that Education is a fundamental human right for every man, woman, boy, and girl. In Hayat Yolu Association, we confirm the importance of education and its power that affects all aspects of life. In particular, its effect on the ability to improve health and economic conditions of societies. It also stimulates energies and capacities towards stronger, productive and sustainable societies. Education and its sources are a basic right stipulated in the 1989 Child Rights’ Convention and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
Nevertheless, recent statistics declared by UNESCO are very worrisome at the global level and poor and developing communities in particular. Statistics show that there are more than 262 million children and adults in school-age outside of school. Six out of ten do not know how to read and write. They also cannot even do basic math skills after several years in school. 750 million adults worldwide are illiterate, who are drivers of poverty and unemployment. Education represents only 2% of humanitarian aid, although education is the first damaged and the last to recover in any crisis.
In Syria alone, more than 2 million children suffer from deprivation of their opportunity in education. This is due to war conditions that vandalized and destroyed more than 7,000 schools and educational institutions. At Yemen, more than 2 million children are deprived of their right to education. This also is due to war conditions and the resulting poverty and severe shortage of all resources. In Somalia, due to the prolonged conflict that lasted for more than three decades, combined with famine, bad weather conditions, and floods, more than 3 million children have left schools.
In Palestine, despite the great damage and devastation caused by recurrent wars, education is appreciated among all Palestinians, with 95.4% of children attending basic education. However, adolescents and children with disabilities remain vulnerable to dropping out or inability to enroll in school. About 50% of students (aged 5 to 17 years) do not achieve their full educational potential. By the age of 15, approximately 25% of boys and 7% of girls leave education. In addition, 22.5% of boys and 30% of girls between the ages of 6 and 15 years with disabilities have never attended school.
Therefore, states and governments must work to provide and guarantee free and compulsory education. They also need to promote equal educational opportunities for all and prohibit any form of discrimination.
“I hope to become an engineer to contribute to building houses destroyed by wars.”
“Malak Dhawaba”, is a-ten year old child. Malak joins fourth grade, and she got excellent grades in the previous semester.
She is a part of an extremely poor family who lives in a miserable house made of metal sheets. The house does not protect them from the coldness of winter nor the heat of summer.
Malak’s house is located on the border area more than 2 km from her school. She has to walk on a daily basis, back and forth, because her poor family is unable to provide her daily expenses or even transportation. She arrives at home or school very much exhausted. In rainy days, she arrives very wet, which endangers her health and safety.
The fact that the house is located on a border area constitutes a lot of fear and danger for children and adults. They often hear shelling and gunfire which affect their psyche and afflict them with panic attacks, terror, and shock. Additionally, the tin sheets house becomes very hot in summer and very wet inside in winter. All belongings of the family of clothes, bedding, and blankets becomes wet.
When Malak returns home after a long walk, she does her homework and helps her younger siblings to do their homework and then help her mother with the household tasks, as the mother is very ill and weak. “After helping mother with house chores, we go out to play in front of the house, we have no place to play indoors,” Malak says. “We don’t have toys or even clothes, when it rains; everything becomes wet, this time it rained continuously all along the week.” We asked her about her wish for the future, and she answered, “I hope to become an engineer because I want to help my father and to build a house for us to protect us, as well as to contribute to building the houses destroyed by war.”