THERE ARE 5.5 million children in Syria, and UNICEF is warning that they are in urgent need of education and help.
Now the charity and its partners – UNHCR, Save the Children and World Vision – have launched a new campaign called No Lost Generation to bring the world’s attention to the situation facing the country’s young people.
A report in March 2013 by UNICEF outlined the dangers faced by children in Syria and questioned whether they would become a ‘lost generation’.
With conflict ongoing in Syria for the past three years, there are millions of children who need urgent education and psychological support to break the cycle of violence, said UNICEF
The campaign aims to build momentum one week ahead of a major donor conference in Kuwait, and a fortnight ahead of the Geneva peace talks.
UNICEF is now calling on governments, aid agencies and members of the public “to protect a generation of Syrian children from a life of despair, diminished opportunities and broken futures” by funding critical education and protection programmes.
It says these programmes are needed to lift Syrian children out of misery, isolation and trauma, and the No Lost Generation campaign estimates that this will come at a cost of $1 billion in 2014.
Syrian children have been wounded and killed, as well as becoming vulnerable to exploitation such as child labour, said UNICEF. Nearly 3 million children have dropped out of school.
Peter Power, Executive Director, UNICEF Ireland said: “UNICEF is on the ground in Syria providing the education and psychological support children need to rebuild their lives but we desperately need more funds to continue this work in 2014.”
He added that they need to see a greater effort from those in positions of power to put an end to the needless suffering of children in Syria. “The cost of inaction today will be the loss of an entire generation of children with devastating consequences for the entire region,” said Power.
In 2014 UNICEF aims to reach:
- 6 million children, including 1.2 child refugees, with education
- 3 million children with direct protection support
- 5,000 separated children with immediate care
- At least 25 million children in the region with vaccinations against diseases like polio
- 11 million people with clean water in Syria, and in neighbouring countries.