BEIRUT, 30 January 2015 – A top European humanitarian official visited a public school in Lebanon, supported by European Union funding through UNICEF. The European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Mr. Christos Stylianides, accompanied by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Mrs. Annamaria Laurini, visited the intermediate public school in Geitawi, Beirut today.
“The crisis in Syria is the worst humanitarian tragedy of our time. This is why I am here today to show my solidarity with you, with the Syrian refugees and with the Lebanese host communities” EU Commissioner Mr. Stylianides said during the visit to the school.
Since 2012, the European Union has allocated more than EUR 100 million to the education and child protection sectors in Lebanon to help deal with the additional pressure the refugee influx has put on public services in the country. Since 2012 the European Union has been one of UNICEF’s largest donors in Lebanon; generously contributing more than EUR 32 million to strengthen education for Syrian refugees and other vulnerable children as well as to provide improved access to inclusive learning.
EU Commissioner Mr. Stylianides and UNICEF Representative Mrs. Laurini met the school director, Mrs. Melvina Ephrem, as well as children and families benefiting from the services provided through UNICEF’s partners Caritas and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The school provides education to 114 students aged 3 to 14 years in the first shift, including 60 Lebanese, 53 Syrian, and one Egyptian child.
UNICEF and its partners are supporting the students through the provision of school supplies, bags, coverage of registration fees, and the rehabilitation of its classrooms and washroom facilities.
“The overall education sector target is to enroll over 220,000 school-aged children into formal schools,” said UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Ms. Annamaria Laurini. “This target includes Syrian and other vulnerable non Lebanese children, in addition to a group of marginalized Lebanese. We are very grateful to the European Union contribution to Lebanon through UNICEF assisted programs.”
It is estimated that out of the 1,132,443 registered Syrians in Lebanon, almost 400,000 are children aged 4-17.
The generous contributions from the European Union (EU) through UNICEF enables the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education to provide school-aged children with access to quality education in safe, inclusive environments that are well equipped with educational and recreational supplies and qualified teachers. Similarly, support given to Ministry of Social Affairs structures supports vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee children and their families have access to supportive day care facilities and caregiver support services, where children, women and girls will be able to access childcare and psychosocial support.
For further information, please contact:
- Bouchra Chahine, Information Officer – Politics, Economy, Trade and Press Section, Delegation of the European Union, +961 (1) 569400 ext: 271, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Soha Bsat Boustani, Communication Chief, UNICEF Lebanon Country Office, +961-70-931-700, email@example.com