International Rescue Committee (IRC)

"I want to learn": Refugees in crisis are desperate for education [Video]

In countries recovering from war and disaster, the first thing many parents want for their families is for their children to go back to school.
 
In this video, you'll hear from International Rescue Committee aid workers about how we are making sure kids have safe places to play, learn and build a future.
 
 

Video Transcription

 
Rancy, 6th Grade, Liberia:
I love going to school because my father never go to school.  I want to learn.
 
Blessing, 9th Grade, Liberia:
To go to school is good.  If you learn, nobody can bluff you.

<<Children clapping/singing in Congo>>
 
Gerry Martone, IRC director of humanitarian affairs:
One of the most striking things in traveling around the world and working with displaced populations is when you do assessments and ask people what their needs are, you often expect that they’re going to ask for food, water, medicine, shelter, health care. And they do. But more often than not the number one request is education services. This is such a crucial importance to parents around the world that they subordinate ... things like health care and ...sanitation facilities, preferring to get their kids in school. 
 
Rancy:
If you are a student, no one can bluff you.  You can help yourself. 
 
Sarah Smith, director of IRC children's programs:
IRC was one of the first organizations to really push education in situations of emergency or humanitarian context, In an acute context or ... a real crisis situation the IRC will set up schools and safe places for children to go, so that they can just be safe and protected and have a place to play, have a place to learn. In a post conflict context we’ll work with the ministry of education to restart the education system. It’s about thinking long term how can we help the country rebuild and, and get back on its feet.
 
Blessing: 
I feel safe at school.
 
Rancy:
I feel safe. Nothing gives me problems, at school. 
 
Andy Brimmer, IRC Board Member:
When you’re in a refugee camp, one of the most remarkable things to see is that school or learning environment can take place anywhere. But provided that there’s a teacher, a group of children everywhere who always want to learn and something to teach.  Learning is going to happen. 

Gerry Martone:
As a professional aid worker, you don’t just see problems; you see solutions. You know that there’s ways you can change that situation and you can transform it.  There are state-of-the-art programs that we know that can change a situation and improve the welfare of children and their parents in a refugee camp. We know how to do that. It is not a hopeless situation. 
 
Blessing:
I want to become a civil engineer. 
 
Interviewer:
A civil engineer? 
 
Blessing:
Yes
 
<< Children in Congo singing>>
 
ENDS

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