With fear that most schools in Afghanistan could be closed after the Taliban swept to power last month, Education Above All (EAA), a global foundation protecting the right of children and youth to quality education, is launching a new campaign to highlight the deliberate attacks on children’s education around the world.
The campaign, created by global creative agency Across the Pond, is being launched on 9th September to coincide with the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education from Attack, to draw attention to the plight of more than 75 million three-to-18-year-olds living in 35 crisis-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, Sudan and Ukraine, and their urgent need for educational support.
The campaign launches with a powerful, heart-rending film named ‘Calling Attendance’, which shows a school teacher calling out names from the register. As she calls out each name, the children answer “here” – but not from the classroom.
Instead, we see them answering from their own stark realities: a child soldier polishing weapons rather than studying, a refugee fleeing conflict with just the clothes on her back, a traumatised young boy in a bomb-damaged ruin as war rages around him, and scared young girls facing sexual assault and kidnapping. The beautifully shot but unflinching film aims to illustrate that when children are not in school they are often somewhere much worse.
The film will be streamed live as part of a virtual event organized by EAA in partnership with UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education From Attack on 9th September.
EAA will be sharing the film across all its social channels and wants as many people as possible to do the same to help protect the education of the world’s most vulnerable children and to put pressure on those in power across the world to do so too.
Every day, children have their education destroyed because of war, sexual exploitation, murder, kidnapping and military occupation of schools committed by those with political, ideological and military motives. EAA is trying to stop this and persuade world leaders that education is a human right and should be a top priority.
EAA focuses on protection and provision of education during war, conflict and insecurity and has programmes that protect and provide education in the world’s most challenging conflict zones. EAA is currently adapting some of its long-distance learning materials specifically to help Afghan refugees around the world.
The International Day to Protect Education From Attack was first launched by the UN in May last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a historic disruption of education with 1.6 billion learners affected, in order to highlight the plight of children and youth in under-resourced communities and conflict zones.
Last year’s UN event launched with the award-winning film ‘Boy Soldier’, also created by Across the Pond.
Maleiha Malik, the Doha-based British executive director of the EAA’s Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict programme, said: “We all know that education is a fundamental human right. But more than that, quality education is a foundation of tolerance, pluralism and security in society. Put simply, a lack of education is a driver of extremist ideologies; in a world where there are so many conflict zones, it’s more urgent than ever that young people have access to education to give them the resilience and critical skills to reject hate and violence. That’s why the #UniteToProtect campaign and Across the Pond’s powerful ‘Calling Attendance’ film are so important.”
Source: Across the Pond