Education is the key to the future we want to see for every child. It all starts in the classroom.

Every week, children all across the globe pack their bags and head to school. It’s a place for play, for learning, and for growth. They develop skills they can use into adulthood and friends they’ll cherish forever. In the midst of disaster and war, school can be a safe haven.

School looks vastly different all around the world but these photos prove that it can be life-changing for children no matter where they are. Take a look.
 

Afghanistan

Kayenat's school back home was burnt and destroyed. © UNICEF/UN0309024/Kokic

Not long ago, Kayenat fled war and violence. She left behind her home and everything that was familiar to seek safety in a camp in Afghanistan. In her hometown, school was either banned or threatened by frequent bombings due to the conflict. Now, Kayenat has a reason to be happy. She and more than 1,770 other internally displaced students have the chance to learn. 
 

Syria


In Syria, every bullet-ridden blackboard, burnt schoolbook and closed classroom means more than just another destroyed building. This destruction tells the story of two million children forced out of school by the country’s conflict - each child robbed of safety, friendships, and the bright future they deserve. 
Girls study in a tent school at a makeshift camp in northern rural Idlib, Syria. © UNICEF/UN0248438/Watad

 

These children have seen more violence in their few years than anyone should in a lifetime. They left behind their homes, friends, and the communities they grew up with and found safety in a makeshift camp in northern rural Idlib, Syria.

Now, they’re back in school in a UNICEF-provided tented classroom where more than 350 students have been able to learn, play, and be children again. With education supplies provided by UNICEF, a volunteer teacher has turned six tents into the most basic of classrooms. 
© UNICEF/UNI198153/Sanadiki

Remember the joy of new school supplies? For this girl in Syria, her first day of the school term and UNICEF school bag mark a fresh chance at education in a country where more than 2 million children are out of school. Packed with notebooks, a pencil case, pens, crayons, and other stationary, UNICEF will distribute one million of these bags to children like her eager to learn again.

Nigeria

Ahamad, 11, likes to study languages and dreams to be a pilot so that he can help people in his community move around. © UNICEF/UN0322359/Kokic

The chance to learn is particularly vital for children who have spent their young lives caught in horrific crises, living through natural disasters or caught in poverty.

For students in northeast Nigeria, where almost two million children have been forced out of school due to escalating violence, UNICEF is helping students get back into learning by supporting schools and temporary learning centres. This includes making sure psychosocial support is available for children affected by conflict and displacement. 
 

Mozambique

Leonora, 12, and her friend Olga, 11, pose for a portrait in a classroom that has no roof at the Escola Primeria de Ndunda, in Beira, Mozambique. The school was badly damaged during Cyclone Idai. © UNICEF/UN0320942/De Wet
UNICEF established child-friendly-spaces for children after Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique. © UNICEF/UN0321072/De Wet

 

In 2019, Mozambique was hit by two tropical cyclones that wreaked deadly havoc on the local community. More than 3,400 classrooms were damaged or destroyed. In some cases, schools were being used for emergency shelters for children and families displaced by the storm. The cyclones may have torn through Leonora and her friend Olga's future too, if UNICEF wasn't quick to supply school tents and temporary learning spaces. 
 

Iraq

Farah sees a lot of destruction on her walk to school. It makes her sad, but she is happy to be back at school this year. © UNICEF/UN0248974/Anmar

 

For many girls, classrooms are a place of safety, stability and opportunity. But due to the war in Iraq, Farah was forced to drop out. Thankfully, Farah has since returned to learning through a UNICEF-supported school which runs a shift for boys and a shift for girls.

UNICEF has helped rebuild almost 300 schools that will allow students to return to the classroom each year. But, there are still thousands more that are deprived of an education. 

"There is no life without school," Farah says.
 
UNICEF
girl smiles and writes on chalkboard girl smiles and writes on chalkboard
girl smiles and writes on chalkboard

SEND LIFE-SAVING SUPPLIES

Every life-saving box you help deliver is much more than just supplies. It is a child's future.

Your fearless delivery can give children: 
  • A box of life-saving Plumpy’Nut®, enough to bring a malnourished child back to health.  ​
  • A box of measles vaccines, enough to keep 140 children safe from the deadly disease.
  • A School in a Box, to help provide education supplies so children can continue to learn and fulfil their potential. 


Indonesia

Aril, participates in play and learning in a temporary learning space set up by UNICEF and partners in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia. © UNICEF/UN0250141/Veska

In an emergency, education is just like water, sanitation and nutrition - it cannot wait. Schools help children to stay safe, to cope with the profound stress of a crisis and to prepare for a more peaceful future. When a tsunami stuck Sulawesi, Indonesia, last year, UNICEF helped get children, like Aril, back to learning in UNICEF school tents. 

 

Yemen

Students listen to their teacher during a class held in a UNICEF tent school, after the Aal Okab school which they used to attend was destroyed during ongoing conflict in Yemen. © UNICEF/UN073956/Clarke for UNOCHA

 

In Yemen, children have been suddenly robbed of their access to education with many schools heavily damaged during airstrikes and escalating conflict. More than two million children are out of school and the education of another 3.7 million children hangs in the balance as teachers' salaries have not been paid in over two years. 

UNICEF is working around the clock to pay incentives to teachers and school-based staff, to rehabilitate schools, and to provide learning materials for children. Learning to read, write, and develop our talents is a right we all have, wherever we are born.
 

Ukraine

After armed conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, the population in the small town of Novotoshkivske plummeted. © UNICEF/UN0312562/Filippov

 

This school has fallen victim to violence in Ukraine. Education is crucial for every child to thrive in life, especially after years of ongoing conflict. That’s why UNICEF is committed to fulfilling this basic right for all children – even in conflict zones.
 
Maria is taking class in a school only 2km away from where fighting is still severe. Her school windows are protected with sandbags in case of shattering. © UNICEF/UN0313007/Filippov


Guatemala

 

A school is not just a place for learning. It’s also a place where children can find stability and safety even during stressful times. Staying in school has helped children avoid violence and choose a future of their own making.
Migrant children awaiting their humanitarian visas draw at the UNICEF-supported child friendly space at the Mexico-Guatemala border in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. © UNICEF/UN0278777/Bindra


Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire must have 15,000 classrooms if it wants to accommodate all children currently deprived of a place of learning. To help the country achieve this goal, UNICEF has partnered with Conceptos Plásticos to recycle plastic collected in polluted areas of Abidjan and its surroundings. Together, they want to build 500 classrooms for more than 25,000 of the most disadvantaged children in the next two years, with the potential to increase production beyond that. © UNICEF/UNI215495/Frank Dejongh
UNICEF
girl smiles and writes on chalkboard girl smiles and writes on chalkboard
girl smiles and writes on chalkboard

SEND LIFE-SAVING SUPPLIES

Every life-saving box you help deliver is much more than just supplies. It is a child's future.

Your fearless delivery can give children: 
  • A box of life-saving Plumpy’Nut®, enough to bring a malnourished child back to health.  ​
  • A box of measles vaccines, enough to keep 140 children safe from the deadly disease.
  • A School in a Box, to help provide education supplies so children can continue to learn and fulfil their potential. 

 

 

Fiji


Cyclone Winston damaged 11-year old Wiliame’s school beyond repair. Here, he is sitting outside what was once his library. At least 240 schools were damaged or destroyed in the cyclone, which was the strongest storm ever recorded to hit land in the Southern Hemisphere. 
© UNICEF/UN013410/Sokhin

Here’s a glimpse of how tents are getting children back to learning, playing and smiling in Fiji after the trauma of Cyclone Winston. They’ve made a big difference for these students from a school in Dobuilevu village, Ra Province, who can’t wait to start school again. UNICEF gave to the school two school tents and teaching and learning materials. 

 

These students can't wait to start school again. Their classroom was destroyed by Cyclone Winston in 2015. UNICEF gave the school two school tens and teaching and learning materials. © UNICEF/UN011706/Sokhin


Nepal

© UNICEF/UNI185323/Karki

 

In 2015, earthquakes tore through Laxmi’s classroom in Nepal and 32,000 other classes like it. The earthquakes may have destroyed Laxmi’s future, too, if her local community hadn’t banded together to rebuild her school. A few hours of digging holes, sawing bamboo, and transporting furniture helped build the makeshift classroom that got Laxmi and her classmates back to school as soon as possible.
 

 

Haiti

© UNICEF/UNI121144/Dormino

 

Something as small as a pencil and a book can mean the world to the children after disaster. UNICEF rebuilt this school after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake to help kids return to learning as quickly as possible and regain a sense of normalcy. 
 

South Sudan

 

These are the charred remains of 12 year-old Chubat’s school in South Sudan. Her country is home to the highest proportion of children out of school in the world but UNICEF is helping to change that. UNICEF rebuilt Chubat’s school, trained teachers and provided supplies so that almost 250,000 other children like her could go to school too. 

 

© UNICEF/UN018992/George
 

Let’s give every child the chance to learn


All children have the right to learn. But every year, poverty, conflict, crisis, and disaster deny millions of children that right. Every child, no matter where they live, deserves a future where they can fulfil their full potential.

With your help, we can reach the children caught in some of the hardest-to-reach places and situations. 

Your box of education supplies will go down roads with no names, through war zones and up mountains and reach the children who need it most. UNICEF goes where no one else can - the furthest away, the hardest to reach, and the most at risk. No matter how far, we find a way and we stay until the end. 

Support UNICEF today to help fulfil every child’s right to go to school, play with their friends and get the education they’ll need to thrive in life – just as we all once did. UNICEF helps keep children in school by:
 
  • Providing teachers with the training and supplies they need to help children reach their potential
  • Supplying safe water and hygiene facilities to schools to keep children attending
  • Working with governments to stop schools being taken over by armed groups during conflict
  • Delivering temporary learning shelters so children can keep learning when disaster strikes
Donate to help
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