When the bombs fall and the refugees flee for their lives, remember the children of Ukraine

W.1.5 million refugee children flee Ukraine We think about the urgent need for humanitarian relief: food, water, shelter and clothing. But we must make sure that children’s education is the focus of their immediate response to suffering, because war not only destroys life, it also destroys education.

Choose a humanitarian crisis: Syria, Greece, Afghanistan, Uganda. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. ” The sad fact is that children who have been displaced by conflict have been in that state for years.

Why worry about education in such a time of misery and deprivation? Because it provides a feeling of normalcy in times of chaos and chaos. It provides a daily routine and some sense of hope for the future, as well as opportunities for counseling and other necessary mental health services. It is a distribution point for health care, food and other necessities for children and their families. This service and support is essential for all children.

The education system in case of emergency is always appreciated by the family concerned. From my conversations with refugee parents, recently settling somewhere in the Greek islands and Lebanon, with some sense of stability, their first priority is to get their children back to a meaningful level of schooling.

But the international humanitarian community has stopped its work. More than half a million children have already crossed the border as refugees to neighboring countries, mainly Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

None of them will be out of school for a few weeks, and they are already coming back from disruption due to Covid-19. An order was issued to close all schools for two weeks after the aggression began – affecting 5.7 million school-age children. Ukraine’s education ministry says 180 schools and educational institutions have been damaged or destroyed in the first week of Russia’s aggression. And keep in mind that what we are seeing now is actually the rapid rise of a crisis that has been affecting children in eastern Ukraine since 2014. According to Save the Children, more than 750 schools have been destroyed, damaged or forced to close, in clashes with Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

We at least know how to tackle the challenge of educating displaced children in Ukraine. At the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, a global fund for education in education cant wait, emergency and prolonged crisis was launched and it has so far disbursed $ 1 billion in aid.

At the time, it was adopted that a minimum of 4% to 6% should be directed towards emergency and humanitarian education, although the European Union sets the benchmark from 10% to 15% depending on the situation.

However, the current humanitarian application for Ukraine says to dedicate only 2.2% to education – about $ 11.40 per child in need. We know this will not take us too far in providing the necessary support to the children. We call on the Ukrainian refugee children to start an educational system to allow them to flee their homes within 30 days.

How education is best distributed to refugees will vary depending on the location. The value of gold is to integrate refugees into host community schools. If space is tight, relocating school – using school in two shifts a day – is an effective method. My organization, Theirworld, along with the country’s Ministry of Education and UN partners, was involved in establishing a successful double-shift system in Lebanon, which has educated 350,000 Syrian refugee children in the last five years.

In other cases, it may be appropriate to use the Ukrainian curriculum taught by refugee teachers. Additional non-formal education, such as sports, sports, drama or general lessons, may be provided by groups, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. Schools in western Ukraine, if it remains a relatively safe area, may be overwhelmed by internally displaced children and may need international assistance.

What is certain is that this crisis will have a devastating effect that will last for many, many months and perhaps even years, and so we must prioritize the educational well-being of Ukrainian children now and help them cope with the trauma that has befallen them. In Ukraine, as in any conflict, children lose the most – their childhood and their innocence. We have been too slow to respond in the past. Let’s not make the same mistake.

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