As a member of the Southern California Executive Board for UNICEF, I am deeply aware of the tremendous need that faces children around the world. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that over half of the nearly 22.5 million refugees worldwide are under the age of 18. Every day, they confront hunger, thirst, violence, displacement, disease, and lack of education – to say nothing of the short- and long-term scarring caused by these conditions.
So when an individual or organization steps up to make a difference, it’s cause for celebration. At the end of July, the Clooney Foundation for Justice announced a $2.25 million UNICEF partnership, which includes a generous donation from Google.org, and a $1 million technology grant from HP, to support formal education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Lebanon has the world’s highest per capita refugee population, including more than one million Syrian refugees – close to 200,000 of whom are out-of-school children. These funds will help seven public schools to provide critical education opportunities to nearly 3,000 currently out-of-school refugee students this school year, as well as supporting technology tools to improve outcomes for refugee children. Without visionary help, such as the Clooney Foundation’s, many of the refugee children would never have a chance to become productive members of society.
I so admire George and Amal Clooney for their serious commitment and leadership. You can learn more about this project and others on the Clooney Foundation website.