Education in emergencies

Education — a child’s fundamental right — is most at risk during emergencies.

Children are at the epicentre of today’s global emergencies. Nearly 250 million of them are affected by conflict and millions more face risks from natural hazards and fast-spreading epidemics.


© UNICEF/UN06474/Anmar

Natural disasters and violent conflicts continue to take a significant toll on millions of children and their families. In Iraq’s continuing conflict, children are especially at risk. A relief supply distribution for displaced students in the Yahyawa camp in Kirkuk Governorate.

© UNICEF/UNI194536/Khuzaie

To protect education gains and ensure continued progress, children, especially girls, need consistent access to safe, quality education. Schoolchildren in a tent classroom at the UNICEF-supported Al-Takya Al-Kaznazaniya camp, near Baghdad, the capital.

© UNICEF/UNI199923/Anmar

Education is critical during emergencies and times of crisis. Rauaa, 12, who has been displaced from Mosul with her family for more than a year, attends the first day of school in the Harsham camp for internally displaced people, in Erbil in Iraq.

© UNICEF/UNI198153/Sanadiki

Syrians are facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. A generation of children and young people — deprived of education — are increasingly seeing their future shaped only by violence. Fatima (in green) and her family fled to Homs when their hometown of Palmyra became dangerous.

© UNICEF/UNI166535/Noorani

Protracted crises in countries continue to claim even more young lives and futures. Being in school can keep children safe and protected from risks. Grade 3 students learn Arabic in UNICEF-supported Yasin Bay Primary School in El Fasher City, in North Darfur in the Sudan.

© UNICEF/UNI190222/Bindra

Millions of children, including in the Central African Republic, are caught up in violent conflicts. In Bangui, the capital, Alison, 14, living in a makeshift shelter at a displaced site for internally displaced people, is performing well in school but wonders about her future.

© UNICEF/UNI193700/Esiebo

Education helps provide children with a sense of normality and hope for the future in the midst of violence, instability and disaster. Displaced children take part in an activity in a UNICEF-supported safe space in the Dalori camp in the city of Maiduguri, Borno State.

© UNICEF/UNI156897/El Baba

Schooling also provides children with the skills to build better, safer, healthier lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. In the State of Palestine, students have received new stationery at Abdel Rahman Ben Ouf Basic School in Gaza City in the Gaza Strip.

© UNICEF/UNI177599/UNMEER Martine Perret

Large-scale crises such as the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa kept an estimated 5 million out of school for months. In Conakry in Guinea, screening children at school entrances is among new safety protocols put in place to reduce the risk of Ebola transmission when schools reopened.

© UNICEF/UNI200695/Filippov

In Ukraine, where children have been most affected by the country’s continuing conflict, extreme weather also poses serious threats to their education. Children in school in Staromykhailovka Village on the front line, Donetsk Region.

© UNICEF/UNI156685/Reyna

Getting children back to school gives them an opportunity for a stable future. “Going to school is important because you make friends and it helps you to find a job,” says Michel Lerios, 13, in Haiyan-devastated Tanauan Town in Leyte Province, who now attends class in a tent.

© UNICEF/UNI157813/Pirozzi

Critical services like education help millions of children affected by conflict and crisis heal and recover from the tremendous hardships caused by emergencies. Girls in Tanauan play at their UNICEF-supported school. Classes are being held in tents and makeshift or repaired classrooms.