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What happens to school during a crisis? Take our quiz

For children whose lives have been touched by war and conflict, education can be a path to a brighter future.

Today, over 62 million children in countries affected by war miss out on school. Many others receive only a poor quality education.

Education for any child is critical, particularly in the early years and for children in crisis zones. Education is not just an opportunity to learn reading and math. It can provide kids with the tools they need to cope with challenges, grow and thrive. 

Take our quiz to learn more about the life-changing power of education for children affected by conflict and crisis—and find out what you can do to help.

How many of the refugees around the world are children?
  • 10 percent
  • 50 percent
  • 25 percent

Of the nearly 26 million refugees around the world, half are under the age of 18. 

Millions of very young children have been exposed to extreme violence and forced to flee their homes. In fact, one in ten registered Syrian refugees are under the age of five.

True or False: A large portion of humanitarian aid funding is focused on education.
  • True
  • False

Despite the great need, less than three percent of all humanitarian aid funding goes to education and only a tiny sliver of that three percent goes to educating young children.

“We need to realize that education is indeed a basic need, and a basic right, and an essential service—and arguably lifesaving, especially when children are under such risk and threat,” said Sarah Smith, the senior director of education at the IRC.

Roughly how long are most refugees displaced from their homes?
  • 1 year
  • 5 years
  • 10 years

The average length of displacement for a refugee is close to 10 years but many are displaced for as long as twenty years. That means a baby can grow into adulthood without ever being able to return to their home country.

As conflicts last longer and people are displaced for decades, the needs of refugees have changed.  Education has become increasingly important.

True or False: The effects of toxic stress, a biological response to prolonged and severe adversity that disrupts a child’s brain development, are always irreversible.
  • True
  • False

Toxic stress is serious, and children exposed to extreme violence and trauma can suffer both short and long-term consequences.

But children are also resilient, and if we can reach them early, we can reduce this damage and have a positive influence on their lives. Research shows that nurturing care and learning can reverse the effects of toxic stress, and skills developed in early childhood last a lifetime.

The IRC and Sesame Workshop are working together to help young refugees and their families in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq build a brighter future. The new program is called “Ahlan Simsim.” What does that translate to in Arabic?
  • Grow and learn
  • Welcome Sesame
  • Learning is fun

The Ahlan Simsim program includes safe spaces for children to grow and learn, parenting sessions and support, and even a new, Arabic-language version of Sesame Street. Its name not only reflects the welcoming, inclusive spirit of the program, but also our goals to restore hope and opportunity to a generation of children.

How the IRC helps

The IRC provides children, youth and adults with safe, quality educational opportunities that help them learn the skills they need to survive and thrive. You can learn more about our approach to education here

How you can help 

Send personalized Rescue Gift printed cards this holiday season. These special presents, given in honor of loved ones, help us support refugees around the world. Order your Rescue Gifts by December 12th to receive your printed cards in time for the holidays.