For more than 100 years, Save the Children has provided emergency relief in natural disasters, conflicts, health crises and economic crises. We define ‘Education in Emergencies’ as the delivery of uninterrupted, high-quality learning opportunities for children affected by humanitarian crises. It is about making sure children can learn regardless of who they are, where they live or what is happening around them and ensuring that they are safe while learning.

Impact of emergencies on children’s education

The number of humanitarian crises is increasing and global trends indicate that this is only going to get worse. Consequently, the number of children deprived of their right to education and the opportunity for wellbeing, literacy and numeracy will grow.

An earthquake destroys schools, learning materials, and administrative systems. Violent conflict causes parents to hesitate to send their children to school fearing they will be victims of attacks, recruitment to armed forces and sexual violence. Ebola results in schools being used as clinics for sick teachers and students, instead of places for learning.

The first step in our Education in Emergencies response is to understand the emergency’s impact and the resulting barriers to education. Our educational needs assessments collect this information at individual, community and system levels in order to design and implement a response that is contextually relevant.

How we ensure access to education in times of crisis:

  • We set up temporary learning spaces as part of a rapid emergency response in the immediate aftermath of disasters to ensure that children’s access to safe education services is quickly restored. Resuming education quickly helps children regain a sense of routine and normalcy, and in the initial phase, we focus a lot on activities such as art and play which help children to recover emotionally.
  • We have developed innovative approaches to promote high-quality education for refugee children so they can learn to their full potential, such as our Learning and Well-Being in Emergencies program which trains teachers and parents to support children to recover and lean in times of crisis.

We work with governments, such as in Jordan and Egypt, to ensure that refugee children can access local schools and learn. Where refugee children are not allowed to access local schools, we advocate for their right to education to be prioritized. This report  outlines our costed plan for refugee education with concrete steps for action.