George and Amal Clooney have confirmed they will help 3,000 Syrian refugee children go to school this year in Lebanon, where the United Nations revealed that 200,000 children are not receiving an education after fleeing the war in neighbouring Syria.
UNICEF said Monday that close to 200,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are out of school. Human Rights Watch estimates the number at more than 250,000.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice said it has teamed up with Google and HP Inc to help the UN children’s agency, Unicef, and the Lebanese ministry of education open seven so-called “second shift” schools for Syrian refugee children.
The nearly 3,000 Syrian children’s education will be funded through a $2.25 million partnership announced by The Clooney Foundation for Justice with Google, in addition to a $1 million technology grant from HP.
The partnership with UNICEF will help seven public schools educate the students, who are not currently in school, and will support a pilot of technology tools in these schools for refugee and Lebanese children, the Clooneys said.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society. Formal education can help change that,” the couple said in a statement.
“We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Oscar-winning actor George Clooney and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who gave birth to twins last month.
The $3.25m donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Google and HP will pay for transportation, school supplies, computers, content, curriculum and teacher training.
A spokesman for the Clooneys’ foundation, Max Gleischman, said the organisation had decided to support education for Syrian refugees through the public school system, instead of investing in private schools operated by Sabis, an international company that has prepared students for college and high school exams. The foundation had announced last year that it would work to enrol thousands of children in Sabis schools.
A crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 led to civil war in Syria, and Islamic State militants have used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Half of Syria’s 22 million people have been displaced and more than 400,000 killed.