May 17, 2017. Mouhamed Seif Mahmoud School, Sakhoor neighborhood in the east part of Aleppo. A UNICEF supported-school is an alternative space for learning.
AMMAN/BRUSSELS/NEW YORK/HONG KONG, 20 June 2017 – On World Refugee Day, the European Union has renewed its commitment to a generation of children affected by the war in Syria. Through a donation of an additional HK$781.2 million(EUR$90 million), UNICEF will be able to provide critical services and support to vulnerable children and young people in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the ‘Madad Fund’) UNICEF will continue working with host countries and partners to provide hundreds of thousands of children and young people with access to basic services including education and vocational training, as well as psychosocial support and protection against early marriage and child labour.
This latest contribution brings the total funding from the EU Trust Fund for UNICEF’s work on the Syria crisis response to nearly HK$1.7 billion(EUR$200 million). The announcement comes on the heels of the appointment of UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, Syrian Muzoon Almellehan, 19, the first person with official refugee status to become an Ambassador for UNICEF.
With the conflict now in its seventh year, around 2 million children from Syria live as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, adding pressure on already stretched support systems. A unique feature and added value of the EU Trust Fund is its support for both refugee and host communities affected by this protracted crisis.
“The Madad Fund is already driving results for children affected by the conflict in Syria — helping them return to school and learning, and providing them with the support they need not only to rebuild their lives, but someday to help rebuild Syria,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We need to build on the momentum – investing more today in reaching more children and young people, because the future of Syria depends on the future of the children of Syria.”
“We can and must do more to help,” said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. “Our EU-UNICEF cooperation has already delivered tangible results: an increasing number of children are enrolled in schools and receive protective and psychosocial services. Inaction is not an option. The price of failure will fall not only on the children of Syria, but on the wider region and the world.”
In line with commitments made in donor conferences for Syria over the past six years, particularly the London and Brussels Conferences, the EU and UNICEF share the determination to invest in those who will build a brighter future for Syria and the region: today’s children.
Children like Nizar, 12. He dropped out of school in Aleppo, Syria because of the war and was behind on reading and writing after fleeing to Jordan with his family. His dream of returning to school came true recently after he attended a Makani learning centre for a year. The centre, which is supported by the EU Trust Fund through UNICEF, taught Nizar and hundreds of other children the basic skills to return to the classroom.
“I want to continue my education and study engineering at university,” said Nizar.
This latest contribution from the EU comes at a critical time. The current funding gap is the largest it has been since UNICEF started responding to the Syria crisis over six years ago.