Baghdad, July 13: Highlighting the needs and importance of educations for those kids who are displaced from their motherland, Noble Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai during her first visit to Iraq called on world leaders to invest in education for children in conflict-stricken countries. She said, “Education is necessary to protect children both now and in the future.”
Notably, There are more than three million displaced Iraqis throughout the country, including around 350,000 children who are not enrolled in school, which is almost half of all those of school age. Malala said “Education cannot be ignored. Especially for countries that are going through conflict. Education is a basic human right. Every world leader gives their child education so let’s give it to these children.”
“It’s important to speak out for internally displaced girls because I was displaced for three months, so I know how hard it is to get an education when you don’t have a home,” Malala added. Further showcasing the needs of displaced Iraqis in Hasansham U3 camp, home to 7,600 Iraqis displaced by the conflict in Mosul, Malala told that the loss of education for young people is one of the worst losses in conflict and that education can protect children, particularly girls. “Education is necessary to protect children both now and in the future,” she said.
Malala also praised UNHCR’s work supporting displaced families in Iraq but highlighted a lack of funding. “We need to support the organizations working here by giving a little donation or some support on social media. Let’s speak up for these children,” she said. “I used Malala as a source of hope and inspiration to overcome my difficulties. I knew that one day I would be able to go back to school,” she added.
Later, Malala visited the tent of student Anwar Ahmad Ayesh, 13, whose family fled violence and bombing in western Mosul in April. Anwar’s father was killed by extremists and like many other children in the city during their three-year rule, she did not attend school. Instead, she would wake up every day hoping that their problems would soon be over.
Interestingly, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work championing education rights for children. In her native Pakistan, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman after speaking out on the importance of girls’ education.
Over 9,00,000 people have been displaced by the fight to retake Mosul from extremists. Some have since returned home, but many are still sheltering in UNHCR-built camps on the outskirts of Mosul, renting, staying with friends or family or living in war-damaged buildings.