Pakistani heroine Malala Yousafzai (centre) talks with a member of UNICEF after attending a press conference at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the Jordanian border with Syria yesterday.
AMMAN: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, urged the world yesterday to help Syrian refugee children receive a proper education.
“There are still so many girls and children who cannot go to school,” Malala said as she visited a school in northern Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp. “I think the whole community outside, the international community, should help these children,” she said in a video posted on the website of the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.
“They (the children) say they want to get an education because they want a bright future and all have dreams. Someone wants to become a doctor, someone wants to become an engineer and someone wants to become a journalist.”
Zaatari, near the border with Syria, is home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees -- more than half of them children.
“Malala’s visit was very important to me because she is a girl who faced a lot of difficulties at an early age in her society. So she is interested in education because education is the most important thing,” said 16-year-old Maisun, a Syrian girl who accompanied Malala on her visit. Malala talked to Syrian schoolchildren and attended classes.
“Having Malala here is really key to highlight... that we need to offer as many opportunities as we can for children to access formal schools, to access informal education and get the psychological support that the need now before they become adults,” Toby Ficker, a UNICEF official, said.