Some 462 million children live in countries affected by war or national disasters and about 75 million of them need educational support. The EU and Unicef launched the Emergency Lessons campaign this year to highlight the importance of education for children affected by emergencies. On 6 December children, teachers and volunteers visited the Parliament in Brussels to talk about their experiences.
Children's education can be disrupted or even abandoned when emergencies hit, be it from natural disasters, military conflicts or health crises, such as an Ebola outbreak. As schools give children a sense of normality, Unicef sees education as critical as food and medicine, enabling young people not only to survive, but also to thrive.
The Emergency Lessons initiative is a partnership between the European Commission’s department for humanitarian aid and civil protection and the United Nations Children’s Fund, which is better known under the abbreviation Unicef. The event at the Parliament was organised by the development committee and supported by Christos Stylianides, commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid and crisis management; MEP Linda McAvan and Unicef Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth.
UK S&D member McAvan, chair of Parliament's development committee, said during the event: ”I visited a refugee camp in Turkey. I saw there what is Unicef doing, with the support of the European Union, to bring education to people in very difficult circumstances."
During the event youth ambassadors surprised the audience with a card game explaining the roles of gender equality and people with disabilities in the society. In addition a Facebook live session was held with young representatives from Ukraine and Zimbabwe.