Paris, 24 November 2021 - Armed conflicts, pandemics, economic fragility, natural disasters... Crises are multiplying and getting worse. The most vulnerable children are the first victims. Their fundamental rights, including the right to education, are seriously violated and denied.
Aide et Action, an international association for development through education, is launching a campaign to raise awareness, mobilize and support its actions.
"There have been attacks in villages near mine: killings, destruction, kidnappings... They threatened to destroy the school if we didn't close it. I am very afraid. - Tata Diarra, student in class 6èmeMali. "We received death threats at school. We discovered the poster in the morning and the next night the school was burnt down, everything went up in smoke" - Ms Kindo, teacher, Sahel Region => Between April 2017 and July 2020, in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, as a result of conflicts, attacks, abuses and violence in the Sahel Region, the number of school closures increased sevenfold.
"When the schools closed, we could not follow the students. Teaching online? We don't have enough technological equipment and we don't know how to use it." - SomBat Xongyer, primary school headmaster, Laos => One year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic, "the most serious educational disruption in history according to UNESCO, deprived 1.6 billion children and young people from education. Today, 24 million young people, including 11 million girls, are at risk of never returning to school.
"On the construction site, I help my parents make bricks in the sun. I often get sick. I miss school and my friends" - Sumitra, 13, India => The COVID-19 crisis has further deteriorated the economic situation of the most vulnerable families. 1 in 10 children are forced to work to help meet the basic needs of their families. In India, the number of migrant children working on construction sites has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.
"During the floods, our crop was destroyed. We didn't have much food left and the market was closed. I was worried about my granddaughter" - Mrs Pich Choeun, Cambodia => 1 in 2 children's basic rights are under severe threat from the climate crisis.
Education fights against poverty, teaches how to prevent diseases, how to live together, tolerance, citizenship and ecology. This is why, for the past 40 years, Aide et Action has been working to provide access to quality education to the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, especially children, girls and women, so that they can all master their own development and contribute to a sustainable and peaceful world.
In the Sahel region, our teams support communities displaced by conflict and set up educational alternatives so that the most vulnerable children, especially girls, can continue their schooling and thus keep them away from the terrorist threat. In South-East Asia, our mobile health stations reach out to the most isolated children to ensure educational continuity, catch up on schooling and train in barrier skills. On Indian construction sites, our dedicated educational centres welcome and protect migrant children from child labour. In Cambodia, where floods are becoming more frequent and severe, we distribute emergency kits to vulnerable families and provide safe spaces for children to continue learning, having fun and overcoming trauma.
Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER, International Director General of Aide et Action, launches an appeal: "The progress made in recent years has never been so fragile and questioned. The educational emergency is acute, real and critical. We cannot let the current crises dictate the future of our youngest children!
At the end of this year, Aide et Action is launching a campaign to raise awareness, mobilize and support its actions.
Press contact: Aide et Action: Anne Cassiot - [email protected] – +33 (0)18.104.22.168.13