Lebanon: Malala to help launch refugee Syria-access education - Tucson News Now

Lebanon: Malala to help launch refugee Syria-access education

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    Mayura Dissanayaka was behind the counter when he noticed his fellow employee return after a run to the bank. An SUV pulled in the parking lot and two men jumped out to grab the bank bag.

    Mayura Dissanayaka was behind the counter when he noticed his fellow employee return after a run to the bank. An SUV pulled in the parking lot and two men jumped out to grab the bank bag.

By Nic Robertson, CNN

The United Nations estimates that Syria's civil war has created more than two million refugees.

In Lebanon, where most of Syria's refugees have fled, there are half a million Syrian children in need of education.  

In a makeshift classroom far from home 13-year-old cousins Um Qasoum and Zara catch up on lost lessons.

Refugees from Syria they can't afford school in Lebanon.

Sad she says because our parents don't have money to send us to school we feel different to Lebanese children

They tell me in Syria when their school was shelled they hid under their desks. Their families fled Syria more than a year ago.

They want to be doctors.

It's a dream that may have just gotten a little closer.

The pair were picked by the UN to help Pakistani girls education champion Malala Yousefzai, who was almost killed by the Taliban two years ago, launch a half billion dollar campaign for Syrian refugee education.

"So what difference would it make if there were suddenly half billion dollars to help with education?"

"That would be great because that will allow us to reach all the children for the time being we are reaching twenty nine thousands with the funds we have."

In Lebanon alone, Unicef estimates half a million refugee children need education.

Across the region, more than 1 million children have fled Syria.

"We are losing a generation. This generation will have to go back one day and if they don't learn then they will be lost."

"By far the biggest challenge is going to be getting the money. This classroom is financed by UNICEF. This year they say they've received barely one third of the cash donors promised and for education the funding plummets to only $1 out of ever $7 requested."

For the two cousins the calculus is simple.

"We say thank you, and one day when you need help, we will help you."

It's a promise they'd love to keep.

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