Malala Calls on World Leaders Provide Education to Refugee Girls and Save Them from Early Marriage and Child Labor


Last week, the youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, called on world leaders to provide for the education of young girls in refugee camps to help them and save them from early marriage and child labor.

The UN Refugee Agency estimates about 21.3 million refugees worldwide and more than half of them are children. A significant number came from people uprooted last year from the atrocities in Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan and Burundi.

According to a report from the Malala Fund about 80 percent of these refugees are adolescents, most of whom are girls and these children are out of school. The report also highlighted the lack of programs for secondary education.

The report also said that, "By underfunding secondary education, donor countries are increasing the threat of conflict and instability in fragile host countries, denying the rights and concerns of children and leaving girls vulnerable to early marriage, child labour, exploitation and more."

The Malala Fund campaigns for education for girls and it started with Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenage girl who rose to prominence after surviving an assault from the Taliban.

"Why do world leaders waste our time with this pageant of sympathy while they are unwilling to do the one thing that will change the future for millions of children?" Yousafzai said in a statement earlier this month.

The report pointed the lack of education programs for the refugee children to the donor countries for failing to deliver on pledges made earlier this year and to wealthy donor countries that diverts resources away for their own domestic refugee costs.

The Malala Fund recognizes that education is not some magic formula that will immediately create world peace, several studies have pointed out that it is positively correlated to "positively correlated with reducing economic insecurity, poverty and inequality - factors contributing to state fragility - and increasing social mobility and labour opportunities."

Their report is concluded by urging donor countries to, "Commit to provide $2.9 billion by September 2019 to the Education Cannot Wait Fund to support education for more than 25 million children, including nearly four million out-of-school refugee children under UNHCR's mandate."

Malala Yousafzai said, "Survival is not enough. We must put those most affected - girls and boys - at the heart of substantive commitments."

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