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Children love to learn. If they are denied access to knowledge, we also deny them the opportunity to change their lives for the better.

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Students in Palestine Speak Up on Severe Educational Disruption Resulting from Continuing Attacks

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Bringing the voices and perspectives of Palestinian and Arab youth to global platforms, Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and its partners held two interactive online sessions in the wake of the recent attacks and severe disruption to life in Palestine, in collaboration with the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), MENA Youth Capacity building in Humanitarian Action (MYCHA) and Luminus Technical University College (LTUC).

On 15 May, youth speakers under EAA’s Qatar Scholarship programme, UNDP, and LTUC took the virtual stage to discuss the impact of recent tragic developments in Palestine on their daily lives, education and their hope for the future.

During the moderated event titled “A Student is Just a Student and All Students Must be Protected”, Eman Tayeh, a recent graduate from Gaza, said: “It is difficult to go back to class and have one of your classmates missing because they fell victim to the ongoing war – but even returning to the classroom is not guaranteed since schools have turned into shelters for families who lost their homes. We ask that our right to education is preserved and that all educational facilities be protected.”

Protecting the right to education from attack is part of EAA’s global advocacy efforts under the #UniteToProtect campaign, which calls for an end to the impunity for education-related violations of international law. The campaign recognises that supporting the next generation into education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty, generating economic growth and creating peaceful and just societies.

Speaking at the event, Badr Al Zaharna, a Qatar Scholarship Programme student from Gaza, noted: “Like many other students in the programme, joining Al Fakhoora in 2016 was my only opportunity to pursue higher education,” while Mariam Al Sersawi, also a student from the programme, pointed to the need “to take care of our psychological wounds and traumas before being able to go back to school.”

On 17 May, EAA’s Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) programme, in collaboration with UNFPA and MYCHA, delivered a session on “Youth Global Citizenship in Action – Solidarity for Protecting the Right to Quality life in Palestine. Featuring speakers from Palestine, Qatar, Yemen and Tunisia, the event highlighted the importance of securing the UN Sustainable Development Goals in support of the right to a dignified life.

On the impact on SDG4, the right to education, Rajaee Maswada from the West Bank commented: “Our youth are skilled and all they need is an opportunity to apply their skills and be part of decision-making in their country.”

In line with ROTA’s Global Citizenship Education (GCED) framework, a discussion was held on Global Citizenship as a tool of engagement for youth, to actively participate in global issues that affect their lives and communities.

Through a youth-centric approach to current developments in the region, the event highlighted and reinforced the urgent need to protect education from attack in ensuring every child’s right to safe, inclusive and equitable quality education.

Impact

"Humanity will not overcome the immense challenges we face unless we ensure that children get the quality education that equips them to play their part in the modern world." -- HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

Surpassing

12.8 million

enrolment commitments for OOSC

9,099

Scholarships

89.5%

retention rate

395,558

Teachers trained

45,000

schools and classrooms