Education – the catalyst for progress
- 3 Posts
- Age 18
Our world has more refugees now than ever before and sadly a majority of them are children. Of greater concern is that the number of child refugees are rising by the day. War, strife, political upheavals and the impacts of climate change are uprooting children from their homes and families, robbing them of their security and prosperity and placing them in situations fraught with uncertainty and danger. Surviving each day can be a challenge and many of them do not know where their next meal will come from. The plight of girls is even worse as they face threats of trafficking and abuse.
Feeling sorry for refugees is not an option. The onus lies with every member of civil society, including young people, who are the future generations, to take constructive steps before this crisis escalates further. The empowerment and progress of refugee children can become a reality only if they have access to education. Without education, many are likely to face a bleak future. If we are to realize the goal of “achieving a life of dignity for all” then we must take all measures to create an environment of inclusivity and equal opportunity for refugees and the first step towards that is to provide access to education.
In my role as the Founder of a youth sustainability organization, Green Hope Foundation, one of our main areas of work has been to use education for Sustainable Development as a transformative tool to engage and empower refugee children. In January this year, I travelled to Lebanon to conduct environmental workshops for Syrian refugee children living in camps along the border. Over a two day period, my team and I interacted with over 600 refugee children some as young 6. None of them had been to school since they fled from their war torn country and their interaction with us was their first exposure to education in a long while. To engage and educate these children about the environment and sustainability we used creative means of communication, such as art, dance, drama, music and songs. Their zeal and passion amazed us and made us realise that children possess the same zeal, enthusiasm and innocence in all parts of the world. We spoke to them about climate change, calculating one’s carbon footprint and the importance of consuming with care. They grasped these concepts with tremendous ease and at the end of our workshops they pledged to stop using plastic and conduct regular cleanups at their camps. Some of them even promised to plant trees to offset their carbon footprint. Our efforts were, but a drop in their ocean of life,but I believe our actions positively impacted these children. It is important for each of us to take action, however small it might be ,to address issues faced by refugee children and it starts with education
The opportunities are many – all it needs is intent.