Amal Clooney and her husband, George, are stepping up for children fleeing war in Syria.
The couple is planning a multimillion-dollar donation to Lebanese public schools, hoping to help provide a quality learning environment to thousands of students currently underserved “because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“They have been victims of geography and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope,” the Clooneys told the Associated Press in a statement. “Our goal with this initiative is to help provide Syrian refugee children with an education and put them on a path to be the future leaders their generation desperately needs.”
Hundreds of thousands of refugee children have settled in Lebanon, putting pressure on the country’s education system.
In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) instituted a “second shift” at over 70 public schools.
According to the agency, the extra sessions are staffed by local teachers who frequently extend their work day to ensure that refugee children don’t fall behind.
The Clooneys’ funds will go toward training those teachers, as well as to providing school supplies, computers, and transportation for the students.
The $3.5 million donation is from their Clooney Foundation for Justice in conjunction with Google and HP.
Still, there are limits to what one celebrity couple even an uber-wealthy one can do for the world’s neediest.
The Clooneys have said the funds will aid 3,000 additional refugee children, but the U.N. estimates that some 200,000 in Lebanon alone are still not receiving an education.
Human Rights Watch has labeled the situation an “immediate crisis.”
The world needs to step up with a comprehensive plan for the millions displaced by the conflict.
That includes supporting the work that agencies like the UNHCR are doing. More importantly, it includes helping muster the political will to resettle them in safe countries whether by making it easier for them to reunite with family or by more freely granting visas.
Still, it’s critical to take action before it’s too late in order for these millions of kids to grow up with the skills to confront a challenging, difficult world.
As the Clooneys recognized, there’s more than one way to lose a life.
To help make the world a more welcoming place for displaced children and their families, you can visit and support organizations working to protect and serve refugees globally, including Amnesty International, the International Rescue Committee, and the Hebrew International Aid Society.
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