Education in a Time of Callous Conflict

Literacy and warImagine you’ve slumped down in your chair for the new term. Your classmates are buzzing around you as the bell signals a new period. A figure walks through the door and you hastily grab your brand-new textbooks out of your bag. However, as you lift your head to greet your teacher, you stop. It isn’t your teacher. It’s a soldier, armed with a sleek black rifle pointing straight towards you and your classmates.

 

This scenario might seem far-fetched for those of us who enjoy a secure and developed education system, but it is a frightening reality for children in conflict zones such as Yemen & Central African Republic. UNICEF estimates that in 2017, 500 attacks were waged on schools in 20 different countries worldwide.

 

In 15 of these 20 countries, classrooms were turned into military posts. Thousands of unwilling children, who only wished for an education, were recruited to serve as suicide bombers or child soldiers.

Literacy classroom and warWhat other problems do we face?

 

In many developing countries, schools are often faced with violence from armed gangs, unruly delinquents, sexual predators and natural disasters. All these factors make learning an extremely difficult feat – if even possible at all.

 

Investing in children’s education in developing countries gives the best chance of sustainable development in the years to come. However, countries that cannot afford to invest will most likely see their economy stagnate or even worse, collapse.

Literacy and war 2What’s the end goal?

 

As an adolescent woman whose parents migrated to gift me a better education, I continue to see the disparity between my own education and that of my cousins back home. It is truly education that paves the way for girls and boys to escape poverty and build themselves a better life, not only for themselves but for the people around them.

 

Learn how you can impact positively the education of children in disadvantaged communities here: https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/projects/

Written by: Nilma Leelarathne

Sources:

1 https://www.un.org/en/drive-quality-education-worldwide-faces-%E2%80%98mammoth-challenges%E2%80%99

2. https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/01/1055961

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