Malala asking World Leaders to Donate $1.4 Billion to Help Syrian Refugee Children Get Education
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Nobel laureate teenager, will be urging world leaders at a conference in London to commit to giving $1.4 billion to Syrian refugee children. The money will help them get access to an education.
The conference, called "Supporting Syria and the region," will start on Thursday, February 4. The goals of the conference are to raise money for the humanitarian crisis. Co-hosted by the United Nations and the British, German, Norwegian, and Kuwaiti governments, leading dignitaries and governments from around the world are scheduled to attend.
Because of the ongoing crisis, about 700,000 Syrian children are living in refugee camps and unable to go to school in the Middle East region, according to the Malala Fund. Malala told Reuters about her passion for helping them.
"I have met so many Syrian refugee children, they are still in my mind. I can't forget them. The thought that they won't be able to go to school in their whole life is completely shocking and I cannot accept it. We can still help them, we can still protect them. They are not lost yet. They need schools. They need books. They need teachers. This is the way we can protect the future of Syria."
Along with her at the conference will be 17-year-old student Muzoon Almellehan, the only young Syrian refugee scheduled to speak at the conference. With Malala, she has dedicated herself to getting an education for her fellow refugees.
Muzoon has created a petition on Change.org to encourage President Barack Obama to donate money to their cause. In her plea, she urged the public to help, saying, "Please stand with Malala and I and challenge the world's leaders to commit at least $1.4 billion to education on February 4th. We are #notlost. We are here and we are ready to build our futures and that of Syria. We need the world's leaders to give us the opportunity to do so."
Yahoo News reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron will be asking participating countries in the conference to double the amount of their donations. Last year, the UN asked for $8.4 billion to support the Syrian aid effort, but only received $3.3 billion.
In total, the UN will be asking for $7.73 billion to help handle the requirements following the impact of Syria's conflict. There are 13.5 million people who are vulnerable or displaced inside Syria and 4.2 million that have escaped to other countries in the region.
Malala gained worldwide attention after receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her activism for teenage education at 17, the youngest person ever to do so. A Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012 in response to her vocal advocacy for education for girls while living under Taliban occupation in Pakistan.