Child education initiative launched

November 15, 2012 - 4:11:41 am

H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser listening to a panel discussion at the launch of her new global initiative, Educate A Child. Also present is Gordon Brown (2nd right), former British prime Minster and United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Global Education. (AR Al-Baker)

By Fazeena Saleem

DOHA: A global initiative to bring primary education to poor and marginalised children was launched by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser yesterday at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) under way in Doha.

With 61 million children deprived of basic education and 28 million of these in the conflict zones, the initiative ‘Educate a Child’ seeks to bring high quality learning to them, together with specialised organisations from around the world.

“Educate a Child will reignite the world’s commitment to the hardest-to-reach children, the forgotten children. Our mission is to turn attention back to the disadvantaged children of today, who could become confident adults tomorrow, able to fulfil their potential, if we just give them the opportunity,” said Sheikha Moza, announcing the initiative.

She made the announcement on the second day of the WISE summit being held at the Qatar National Convention Centre under the theme ‘Collaboration for Change.’ The meet concludes today.

‘Educate a Child’ is already supporting 25 projects and benefiting 500,000 children in countries across Africa, Middle East and Asia where many children don’t have access to primary education due to extreme poverty, conflict, natural disaster, discrimination or other reasons. And it is seeking further partnerships to reach out to more children who are deprived of the fundamental right to education.

“This is just the beginning and  for me it not enough, because you imagine how many we can reach as we continue to build our partnerships, with the help of a truly fruitful collaboration and mutual learning,” said Sheikha Moza.

‘Educate a Child’ is working with Unesco, Unhcr, Unrwa, The Global Partnership for Education and Bharti Foundation as strategic partners and together has funded $152,696,645 into all ongoing projects. It is working to support many schools and learning centres for refugee children who have fled fighting or disasters such as drought and famine, to enable them to continue their education in spite of having left their homes.

The projects varies from low cost one-room schools in Indian urban slums, to floating boat schools in flood-driven areas in Bangladesh, to projects working with traditional communities such as Kenya’s Masai where education for girls is often cut short due to cultural influences such as child delivery or early marriage.

Representatives of some projects funded by the ‘Educate a Child’ also shares their on-the- ground experiences.

Saud, head teacher at Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya, who received a special mention about her work by Sheikha Moza at the ‘Educate a Child’ launch said, “I have been living in Kakuma for 10 years, I studied here, went to college on a scholarship. Now I have over 1,400 learners and 25 teachers in my school, without education my life would have been miserable, but my education has really helped the community and family,”

Together with Gordon Brown, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Global Education, ‘Educate a Child’ partners Irina Bokova, Director General for UNESCO, representation United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner, UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General, UNRWA, Carol Bellamy, Chair, The Global Partnership for Education and Rakesh Mittal, Chairman and CEO, Bharti Foundation in a panel discussion shared their role and contribution towards ‘Educate a Child.’ The Peninsula

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