The Number of Refugee Children Out of School is Increasing at an Alarming Rate

Amid all the pageantry, hoopla and media circus that is UN week in New York there is always some interesting and substantive work being done on important global issues. Sometimes these issues are not on top of the agenda of world leaders (though they probably should be) and conversations around them do not get the kind of attention they deserve for one reason or another.

So, I was very glad to catch up with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children to have a conversation about the challenges of getting refugee children in quality schools.

According to a new report from Save the Children, 700 million days of school have been missed by 3.5 million registered refugee children.

More than half of all refugee children globally are out of school.

Muzoon Almellehan speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York

For Syrian refugee children, the situation is particularly bleak. 43 percent of school-aged Syrian refugee children will be missing school this year. This number is an increase over the same statistic last year, when 34 percent were out of school — this means that around 730,000 Syrian refugee children are receiving no education.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to meet one young Syrian girl who is trying to change this statistic. Muzoon Almellehan is a Syrian refugee who fled to a refugee camp in Jordan and quickly became a prominent advocate for both her own interrupted education and for that of her friends and fellow refugees. Earlier this year she was named a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador for this work–the youngest ever appointed UNICEF goodwill ambassador.  She said something profound that stuck with me and made me want to do this episode with Carolyne Miles.

“As you have nourishment for your body, you also need nourishment for your mind,” she said.

And this conversation you are about to hear with the CEO of Save the Children does a good job of explaining the scope of this this challenge, and how and why the international community is failing refugee children and what it can do to succeed.

We speak nearly a year to the day after leaders gathered at the United Nations and made big pledges to confront the global refugees crisis, but as Caroline explains, they are largely failing to live up to their promises when it comes to educating refugee children.

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