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Gordon Brown: Syrian kids are forgotten victims

January 29th, 2014
04:11 PM ET

An ambitious 'timeshare' plan, launched by the UN, aims to enroll 400,000 Syrian refugees in school before the spring. With the support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, the concept would see exiled Syrian children being taught in existing Lebanese schools for only $400 per person per year.

Becky spoke to Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former British Prime Minister, to find out more.

He said "100 years ago we established the principle that in a conflict the Red Cross would provide healthcare. Then Médecins Sans Frontières did even more in the 1970s and '80s when they introduced their service that kept health services going even in the worst and most intolerable conditions. Now we've got to establish the principle that even if you're in a difficult area, and there is no more difficult area than the Syrian peninsula at the moment, once you're in the area you can still provide some of these services, and we want to see education provided for as many children as possible, and then a root to jobs, and then a return to normality as quickly as possible."

While private individuals can contribute to funding the plan, Brown emphasized that it's important to get governments involved too. "Any pressure that ordinary citizens can put on this will make a difference."

Becky then asked what advice he had for the participants at the Geneva 2 peace talks. "To work harder to achieve a settlement. But at the same time to recognize that even if we achieved a settlement, which will be very difficult in the next few months, the humanitarian needs go on. These are the innocent victims, but often forgotten victims of a crisis. We know that more than half the refugees are children. We know that they have been pushed out of their homes already, but we know also that they're lacking the food and the shelter, as well as the education, and we really have to take humanitarian aid more seriously."

Filed under:  Activism • Becky's Interviews • Middle East • Syria
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