|In Maban, South Sudan, Jesuit Refugee Service employs host community youth to teach basic English to internally displaced South Sudanese at an informal settlement for those displaced by conflict in the country. (Andrew Ash — Jesuit Refugee Service)|
|"Without education, children are vulnerable to exploitation and cannot fulfill their potential.” ~ Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J.|
(Washington, D.C.) December 12, 2016 - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA thanks House and Senate leadership for supporting the Education for All Act of 2016 in the 114th Congress. Although the bill fell short of passage, significant strides were made to ensure that the U.S. government effectively contributes to realizing quality education for children around the world, including those caught in conflict and crisis.
Of the six million primary and secondary school-age refugees under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 3.7 million are not in school. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children, as the obstacles to full access to education are considerable. Yet, during emergencies and in protracted crises, schools are essential for healing and health and provide opportunity and hope for the future.
Rooted in the Jesuit tradition of educating young people, Jesuit Refugee Service is providing access to education for thousands of refugee children, adolescents and adults in more than 45 countries around the world. Through both formal and non-formal education programs, JRS works to heal trauma, promote human dignity and build skills, and advocates for access to schools and quality education for all refugees and others who are forcibly displaced.
“We work alongside refugee families who have lived through the most challenging of circumstances, yet want their children to be educated for the future of their communities. Without education, children are vulnerable to exploitation and cannot fulfill their potential,” said Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., Interim Executive Director of JRS/USA.
The Education for All Act of 2016 was developed to help address the need for access to education for the globally displaced by ensuring that the U.S. has a comprehensive, integrated strategy that improves global educational opportunities for vulnerable children, including those affected by conflict and other emergencies; and facilitates improved coordination within the U.S. government via a Senior Coordinator of U.S. International Basic Education Assistance.
“This bipartisan legislation would have reinforced the work of organizations like JRS by helping to ensure that individuals affected by conflict and other emergencies are not denied the opportunity to heal, learn and thrive,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations at JRS/USA.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA thanks Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL); and Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and David Reichert (R-WA) for helping to successfully pass the Education for All Act of 2016 through the House of Representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In this time of unprecedented global displacement, we look forward to working with the 115th Congress and incoming Administration to fully realize the benefits of the Education for All Act, which will move us one step closer to ensuring that no one is denied the right to an education.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
Jesuit Refugee Service and the Global Education Initiative