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International Day of Education: Investing in education for all children is not an option, it’s a necessity

“Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center honors the International Day of Education proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 24th of January, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The third International Day of Education is marked today, under the theme 'Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation'.

“Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.” (UNESCO 2021)

Here, at “Hope for Children”, especially now during the pandemic, we see the necessity to “Recover and Revitalize Education” in our daily work with people and organizations receiving our services: The need for an inclusive education accessible to all children regardless their socioeconomic status, origin or any kind of disability. Thus, we call upon the state and all stakeholders to invest in education responding to the social developments and the rising needs aiming to deliver appropriate and quality educational opportunities for all children.

Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities in education even in Cyprus. For instance, children from financially vulnerable families are in higher risk of staying out of education given that many of these children cannot have access to online education because they don’t own an electronic device for this purpose. This was the reason that Hope For Children, during the first lockdown, donated new electronic devices to more than 2,000 students, through the Ministry of Education, total worth of 300,000 euros.      

In line with the above, Hope For Children provides experiential workshops and non-formal education programs to schools, groups of children, parents, and educators. The goals of these programs include: promoting the development of life skills, raising awareness regarding vulnerable groups of children (e.g. children victims of abuse and exploitation), and empowering children by teaching them about their rights.  At the same time, the Organization advocates for the design and implementation of policies that promote education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Hope For Children also operates three shelters, “Homes for Hope”, for the accommodation and support of unaccompanied children. The children hosted are provided with multi-disciplinary and holistic services, aiming to cover all aspects of their daily lives and respond to their needs while developing important life skills.

In order for countries to succeed in breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth, and adults behind, there needs to exist an inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all.

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