Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jordan: ‘No Syrian child should be left behind’ UNESCO chief says during Jordan trip

Director-General Irina Bokova (standing), visiting UNESCO education and communication projects supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan. Photo: UNESCO/Abed Arslan

19 March 2014 – Young Syrian refugees in Jordan need the support of the country’s population, said the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), during a visit to the country to examine the challenges faced both by the Syrian and Jordanian youth since the arrival of hundreds of thousands displaced families.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, went to Zainab Bint El Rasoul public girls’ school located in Ramtha, five kilometres from the Syrian border, where a UNESCO project is helping Syrian refugee girls cope with the uprooting from their country and the loss of their homes, friends and teachers.

UNESCO has been working closely with the Government and the European Union to support the Jordanian education system and ensure that Syrian children can continue their schooling alongside their Jordanian peers.

Commending the work done by the teachers to welcome the displaced children, Ms. Bokova stressed that “no Syrian child should be left behind” adding that “this is particularly true for girls, because they are most vulnerable. Quality education keeps girls in schools, fights poverty and carries hugely positive benefits for families and communities and I want to assure that we will continue to support you.”

During her visit, the Director-General also stopped by the Amman-based Farah al-Nas community radio station, and addressed the Kingdom’s youth in a new programme titled Syrian Hour which provides vital information to Syrian refugees, promoting access to information, freedom of expression and serving as a tool for mutual understanding and social inclusion.

“Radio is the most powerful medium that exists to get messages across and to reach young people who are carrying the burden of this crisis,” stressed Ms Bokova. “The programme provides a much needed platform for dialogue between Syrian refugees in Jordan and Jordanian youth on issues of shared concern.”

UNESCO’s Director-General ended her visit with a meeting with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdallah, as well as Dr. Ibrahim Seif, Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.