‘Education Our Future’ underlines a fundamental right of refugee children

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Brussels Airport Zaventem Photo Exhibition UNICEF 2018

On Monday 23 July 2018, the photography exhibition ‘Education Our Future’ was inaugurated at the Sheraton Hotel, Zaventem International Airport in Brussels. The 30-photograph exhibition, by Shehzad Noorani, shows us the day-to-day lives of six Syrian refugee children living in Turkey who benefit from the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) programme, giving them access to education. The photo exhibition also includes a digital component with 10 digital screens placed in the departure hall featuring the portraits of the children, reminding the many travelers about the critical importance their education represents for the future.

UNICEF photo exhibition Sheraton Brussels 2018

At the opening European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides, stated that: “Education is not a privilege, it is a fundamental human right for all children, in particular in times of emergencies and crises”. This is why initiatives such as the CCTE Programme are so important in Turkey, a country currently hosting four million refugees of which over 3.5 million from Syria and half of them are children.

The CCTE Programme is a national social assistance programme, implemented by the Turkish Ministry of Labour, Social Services, and Family since 2003 and has been extended to Syrian and other refugee families in early 2017. The extension of the programme to Syrians and other refugees is being implemented through a close partnership with the Turkish Ministry of National Education, the Turkish Red Crescent, and UNICEF. This cooperation has been made possible by the financial support of the European Union and has proven to be very successful so far.

“Every child has the right to learn, including children who have been uprooted from their homes due to conflict. Extending the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education programme in Turkey provides an excellent example of how existing systems, targeting a society’s most vulnerable, can also support children affected by humanitarian crisis,” said UNICEF’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Director and Special Coordinator for Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, Ms. Afshan Khan. The programme has wielded great results and has been able to reach over 350.000 children. A lot more than expected Mr. Stylianides explains: “Our initial target was to reach 230.000 children by February 2018, the programme has far exceeded these expectations thanks to the cooperation with UNICEF and the Turkish Red Crescent”.

UNICEF Event Education Our Future 2018

Application for the CCTE programme is open to all families regardless of their nationality, given that they are registered in Turkey. When families are assessed as eligible, they can get financial support for every month their child attends school regularly. “Millions of people cross the Eastern Mediterranean, in Turkey there are now over 900.000 refugee children from Syria alone, […] , it is therefore essential that we use our funds for education in the most beneficial and efficient way,” said Mr. Faruk Kaymakci, Permanent Delegate of Turkey to the EU in Brussels. Mr. Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative highlights that: “Investing in these children’s education is not only investing in their individual futures, but also in our shared future and the social cohesion of our society”.