On January 19th, 2015 UNESCO and UNICEF released a joint report on the estimated 58 million children worldwide that are denied their fundamental right to education. Globally, half of the 58 million out-of-school children have had their education disrupted by armed conflict. In zones of conflict only 65% of children reach the final grade of primary school, compared with 86% of children in the rest of the developing world.
An estimated half of all Syrian Children are now out-of-school due to the ongoing armed conflict. Over 50% of the 622,000 Syrian refugees registered by UNHCR in Jordan are 17 years old or younger. Yet only half of the 300,000 plus Syrian refugee youth are attending school. Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) – Legal Aid has been working to help address this education gap through the Voices program.
In the spring of 2014, Voice program community facilitators helped identify education gaps for Syrian refugees in Zarqa, Jordan. ARDD-Legal Aid responded by establishing the Voices of the Future project, a 6-week summer youth education program. Voices of the Future addressed not only the education gap among Syrian refugees, but the lack of after-school and summer education opportunities for Jordanian students in Zarqa. The summer sessions focused on the education needs that were determined by Voice beneficiaries via survey and house visits in the Gueria neighborhood of Zarqa. Based on the results a curriculum was created focusing on English as a foreign language, expression through art and developing youth leadership skills.
ARDD-Legal Aid is committed to supporting every child regardless of their background the right to an education. With the findings of the recent UNHCR report “Living in the Shadows” and the joint UNESCO-UNICEF’s report “Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All” ARDD-Legal Aid calls on the international community to support refugee hosting countries like Jordan to ensure all children receive a quality education. The international community may not be able to end the fighting, but we can ensure that the children of Syrian will not be robbed of their future.