NEW YORK, Sept 23: Malala Yousufzai and other youth activists challenged world leaders on Monday to come up with $175 million to educate 400,000 Syrian children who fled to Lebanon to escape a civil war in their homeland.
As leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly, Malala and UN education envoy Gordon Brown received $1m from campaign group Avaaz to kick off the push for money to send Syrian refugees to school.
UN children’s agency Unicef said 257,000 Syrian children were seeking education in Lebanon in 2013 and the number was set to rise to 400,000 next year, swamping the Lebanese public school system that already educates 300,000 children.
“I can feel what’s happening in Syria because it’s what happened to us in Pakistan,” Malala said of being displaced by violence as she spoke with Syrian student Farah Haddad, 20. Malala is now at school in Britain because she cannot safely return to Pakistan.
Haddad, who finished high school in Syria and moved to the United States in 2011 to attend college, has taken up the fight for education for Syrian refugee children.