TV presenter Laura Whitmore has travelled the world, but meeting teen earthquake-survivors in Nepal was life-changing. Laura went there to report on the role of education after an emergency – something she now believes should be prioritised just like food, water and medicine. UNICEF Ireland and the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection organisation agree with Laura.
Watch her #EmergencyLessons journey below.
We want to get the message out that education is just as important as food, water or medicine after a disaster. That might challenge some of our long-held beliefs, but the facts show that a child who falls out of education for any length time is less likely to finish their schooling and therefore more likely to be married off as a minor, to be trafficked or exploited, to be recruited as a child soldier, or to end up in forced labour.
You might be shocked to learn that, on average, when a person is displaced in the world they are out of their homes for 17 years. The EU and UNICEF believe we cannot wait for life to get back to normal after an emergency before rebuilding schools and restarting classes – we must find ways to teach young people while they are out of their homes and normal situations. Child clubs, play centres, temporary classrooms and double-shifted schools are in use all over the world in emergency zones, and they work – but we need more of them.
The European Union has just committed to directing 6% of its total humanitarian aid budget to funding education in emergencies, but the international average is just 2%. We want to prompt a public conversation about needs after an emergency, in order to get education bumped up the list of priorities.
Laura’s fellow #EmergencyLessons Ambassador, Irish teenage actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, meanwhile made a firm friend when he met Nepalese student Binod (15) who is just a year younger than him, but whose life is very different. Watch their surprising meet-up here.
Visit emergencylessons.ie for more, or to get an #EmergencyLessons kit for your school.
Read Laura Whitmore’s article on her experience in The Sunday Independent