The European Union, through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, recently contributed 12,5 million Euros to UNICEF for a Non-Formal Education programme, implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Turkish Red Crescent.
The programme will reach more than 65,000 refugee children and adolescents with non-formal education opportunities, including 35,000 children who will benefit from classes in Basic Literacy and Numeracy andTurkish Language Courses,as well as an Accelerated Learning Programme meant to compensate for their lost years of schooling.
Turkey is home to over 3.5 million Syrian refugees under temporary protection. Of these, 1.5 million are children and more than 610,000 are enrolled in school. However, according to the Ministry of National Education, over 350,000 children remain out of school. These children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable and at heightened risk of isolation, discrimination, child labour and child marriage.
Many also require special support to adjust to learning environments after having been out of school for several years. UNICEF is currently expanding its support in Non-formal educationactivities to prevent a “Lost Generation” of Syrian children and in particular support the learning of out-of-school refugee children and adolescents.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management stated: “Education is lifesaving for girls and boys affected by crises. It can restore their sense of normality and safety, and is a crucial step toward rebuilding their lives. By investing in solutions for children who are still out of school, this programme is another example of the resolve of the EU and Turkey not to leave a single child behind.”
Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director declared: “Education is essential to the future of children and society. Non-formal education offers vulnerable children and adolescents a crucial second chance at learning. UNICEF is grateful for the commitment of Turkey and the financial support of the European Union to this important programme, which will help many children and adolescents to fully realize their potential and integrate into society.”
Taking into account this recent contribution made by the EU, UNICEF has received a total of 104,5 million Euros for humanitarian interventions from the Facility for Refugees in Turkey since 2016 for critical support to most vulnerable refugee children in Turkey in the areas of child protection, basic needs support and education.