AsianScientist (Jan. 10, 2012) – UNICEF is launching Schools for Asia today, an international fundraising initiative to improve the access and quality of education for disadvantaged children living across Asia and the Pacific.
Schools for Asia is supported by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and tennis star Serena Williams, who is featured in a special public service announcement released today.
“When I was a little girl, my parents taught me the importance of school, and I came to value education. Yet millions of children around the world don’t have that chance,” says Ms. Williams.
The Schools for Asia campaign will help the most marginalized, excluded or otherwise vulnerable children, including girls and children from poor families and of ethnic minorities.
The model is simple: Ensuring schools operate in the best interest of each and every child by providing young students with trained teachers and a safe, protective and inclusive learning environment. These child-friendly schools also strive to offer better resources and facilities, including safe drinking water and separate latrines for boys and girls.
The initiative will operate in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The goal is not only to provide children with better and more accessible schools, but also, to keep them there.
Among the 67 million children who are currently not enrolled in school worldwide, 26 million of them live in the Asia-Pacific Region.
“Getting a child into school is only the first step, and many countries are struggling to keep children in school until they finish a full education cycle,” explains UNICEF Regional Director for the East-Asia and Pacific Region Dan Toole.
“High rates of repetition and drop-out are often linked to poor quality education and lack of school preparedness. We hope that Schools for Asia will help bring further attention to the challenges faced by millions of children in South and East Asia,” adds Mr. Toole.
Schools for Asia follows the successful Schools for Africa campaign, which was launched in 2004 and has helped over 5.5 million children receive an improved education. For more information visit: Schools for Asia.
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