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Malala seeks to raise $1.4bn for Syrian refugee education

Malala seeks to raise $1.4bn for Syrian refugee education

LONDON: Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai will seek to inspire world leaders at a conference in London on Thurs­day to commit $1.4 billion this year to give Syrian refugee children access to education, she said in an interview on Sunday.

Heads of state and government and ministers from countries around the world will converge on London for the ‘Supporting Syria and the region’ conference, which aims to raise funds for humanitarian crises caused by the Syrian war.

Some 700,000 Syrian children living in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon and in other Middle Eastern countries are out of school, according to a report issued by the Malala Fund, which campaigns and fundraises for educational causes.

“I have met so many Syrian refugee children; they are still in my mind. I can’t forget them. The thought that they won’t be able to go to school in their whole life is completely shocking and I cannot accept it,” Malala said in the telephone interview.

“We can still help them, we can still protect them. They are not lost yet. They need schools. They need books. They need teachers. This is the way we can protect the future of Syria.”

An accomplished public speaker who brought a United Nations audience to its feet in a celebrated speech in 2013, she hopes to make a powerful impact at the London event.

‘WE CAN’T WAIT’: “I’m hoping to encourage and inspire world leaders to take action. I’m not going to wait. We can’t wait. It needs to happen.”

Malala will appear at the London conference alongside 17-year-old schoolgirl Muzoon Almellehan, who will be the only young Syrian refugee to address world leaders at the event.

“Without education we cannot do anything,” Muzoon said on the same call as Malala.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2016

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