Page 1

Fall 2016

Diplomat Edition

Shut Out of School

Kids need an education. But what happens when disaster strikes? INSIDE THIS ISSUE Map of Global Emergencies page 3 If a Crisis Hits U.S. Schools page 7 Your Turn to ACT page 8 Extra: We Want to Stay in School! Photo Essay page 5

FA LL 2016

Education Emergency!


Where in the World?


A Place to Make Friends


We Want to Stay In School! 5 After the Disaster 6 If a Crisis Hits U.S. Schools


Kids Helping Kids: Tyler Cromwell 8

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries to help kids survive and grow. UNICEF supplies medicines, vaccines, clean water, nutrition, education, and more. UNICEF also responds during emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, or war. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF raises awareness and funds in the United States to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work.

fter a summer off, you are back in school. But millions of kids around the world can’t go back to school. They live in countries dealing with war, poverty, disease, and natural disasters. Nearly one in four children lives in a country affected by crisis. That is almost half a billion kids! About 37 million are out of school. Here are some examples: n Syria is a country in the Middle East. War there has destroyed homes and schools. More than 2 million children are no longer in school. Another 2.5 million are living as refugees in neighboring countries. n Venezuela, a country in South America, is suffering from a food shortage. Students sometimes have to miss school to wait on long lines for flour and sugar. n Ecuador, also in South America, was struck by an earthquake in April. Up to 560 schools were damaged. n Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. A war has been going on there since April 2014. More than one in five schools have been harmed.

Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are countries in West Africa. A disease called Ebola spread through those countries in 2014 and 2015. Schools had to close to help stop the spread of the disease. n Nepal, a country in Asia, was struck by a huge earthquake in April 2015 that destroyed more than 800,000 homes and 5,000 schools. UNICEF and other world aid groups recently launched the Education Cannot Wait fund. The groups are working to make sure kids in crisis areas receive schooling. “Children don’t need education even in emergencies,” says UNICEF’s Anthony Lake. “They need education especially in emergencies.” n n


Refugees is a boldface word in the story above. It means “people who escape their home country to find safety.” A synonym for refugee is migrant. Synonyms are words with similar meanings. Choose the synonym for each vocabulary word below.

UNICEF ACT is a publication of TeachUNICEF, the Education Department of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Visit for additional resources.

1    poverty a) scarcity b) wealth

Written by Rachelle Kreisman, edited by POE Communications COVER PHOTO: © UNICEF/ UNI186271; INSET PHOTO: © UNICEF/UNI200695/FILIPPOV

Earthquake-displaced student Rashmi collects firewood in Nepal, where she attends a UNICEF-supported temporary school.


2    crisis a) agreement b) emergency

UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016

3    shortage a) excess b) lack

4    fund a) debt b) account Diplomat Edition




Education Emergency!

Where in the World?

This map highlights eight of more than 30 countries in which kids have lost many school days because of crises.



North America



Syria Guinea Venezuela



South America Ecuador

Sierra Leone



War Natural Disaster Disease Poverty Note: The color coding on this map reflects one major challenge for each country, but there may be other factors affecting access to education.

Children around the world are missing out on education because of emergencies. Study this map. Then answer the questions below to show what you learned. 1 What fraction of the countries in crisis is affected by natural disasters? 2 What are the two types of emergencies affecting Asia? 3 What is something new you learned from the map?

Diplomat Edition

UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016


A Place to Make Friends

Schools mean so much to kids in crisis areas.

Malak (left) and Raparine became friends at their new school in Erbil, Iraq.

and met a girl like [Malak]. Her friendship means a lot to me.” Malak has a nickname for her new friend. She calls her Rapu, a short form of Raparine. Staying in school is hard for so many kids in these counties. One in five schools in Iraq can’t


WHAT WAR DID TO SYRIA’S KIDS War has a big effect on whether or not kids can attend school and learn. These numbers show how the war has affected the education of millions of Syrian students.

2.1 million

Children inside Syria who are out of school


Syrian refugee children who are out of school


Schools in Syria damaged or unavailable because they are being used for other purposes (as shelters, military bases, or storage facilities)


UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016





Reflect on the Numbers 1 How much larger is the percentage of Syrian children not in school in 2014–15 than the percentage not in school in 2011? 2 What do the pie charts tell us about Syria’s education system? 3 How might missing school for a long period of time affect children? If many students miss a lot of school, how might that affect the future of the country? Diplomat Edition



alak, age 11, and Raparine, 13, are best friends. They met at a school for displaced children in Erbil, Iraq. Many students at the school have escaped from war in the Middle East. Years of conflict in the region have caused much destruction. Millions of people have become refugees. Both girls had to flee their homes. Malak left her home in Baghdad, Iraq. “The situation in Baghdad was really bad,” she explains. “There were explosions everywhere, and we had to come to Erbil.” Raparine fled her home country of Syria. “I am not happy that I had to flee,” she says, “but at the same time, I am happy that I came here

be used because of the war. Nearly 3.5 million children there are no longer getting an education. In Syria, more than 2 million children are out of school. Nearly 250,000 refugees from Syria are now living in Iraq. Malak and Rapu are among the lucky children

who have not lost out on their education. What do the friends think of their new school? Malak exclaims, “We love school because it brought us together!” n Watch Malak and Rapu talk about their friendship at MalakRapu.

We Want to Stay in School!

Every child has the right to an education. In countries dealing with emergencies, school helps children’s lives return to normal. school Mercy, age 9, lives in Liberia. Her e of the was closed for six months becaus other Ebola outbreak. Now Mercy and students are back in school.

Children in Ukraine write on the chalkboard. War threatens their education. Many schools have been destroyed.

TALK ABOUT IT Fatima (in the green shirt) and her family had to leave their hometown in Syria. It was too dangerous to stay there. Now Fat ima goes to school in another city where it is safer. Diplomat Edition

What do you think would be the best thing about going back to school during or after an emergency? What might be difficult about going back to school? UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016


After the Disaster

When an earthquake wrecks schools, here’s how UNICEF brings back education quickly.

Preparing the Space: What is UNICEF’s first focus? Water! Workers make sure there is safe water for kids to drink. First, clean water tanks are brought in by truck. Then running water and bathrooms are installed. Huge tents are

A boy drinks water delivered by a tanker truck.

Big Kids Help Little Ones UNICEF trains teenagers to teach the Return to Happiness program. “They [teens] were so eager to help the younger kids,” says Sandler. “As scared as they were, I was amazed at their ability to bounce back so quickly, and at their optimism.” The younger children were also hopeful: When a UNICEF worker got sad, seeing all the damage, an eight-year-old tried to comfort him. She said, “Don’t worry. It will all be better soon.”


UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016

1 What qualities does it take to stay optimistic during difficult times? 2 How do art and other forms of expression help kids during times of crisis? 3 What other actions can kids take to help others return to happiness?

Diplomat Edition



strong earthquake struck Ecuador on April 16, 2016. Some towns were almost completely destroyed. About 560 schools were damaged. UNICEF’s Michael Sandler was in Ecuador shortly after the earthquake. We spoke with him to find out how UNICEF helped kids return to school. Getting back to normal “may take weeks, months, or even years, depending on the area,” Sandler says. Within a couple of days after the earthquake, UNICEF sent an education expert to Ecuador. The expert helped decide where to set up temporary schools, what supplies were needed, and how to train teachers. “Getting [children] back to school quickly helps them Michael Sandler get back to a normal kid’s U.S. Fund for UNICEF life,” Sandler notes.

emotions. It allows them to express their feelings through art, song, and games. The goal is to help students feel happy again. n

Closer to Home If a Crisis Hits U.S. Schools


School-in-a-Box kit for a teacher and 40 students

also set up. Some tents are used as temporary classrooms. “We fill them with blue plastic desks, School-in-a-Box kits, and materials to decorate the walls,” Sandler says. School-in-a-Box: A School-in-a-Box kit is a classroom for 40 students in a box. It can be used anywhere in the world. The kit helps students start learning within 72 hours of an emergency. Inside are pencils, erasers, scissors, books, and posters. Also included are wooden cubes for counting, a teaching clock, and a solar radio. The kit comes in an aluminum box and includes a special type of paint. When coated with the paint, the lid can be used as a chalkboard.

After the 2016 earthquake in Ecuador, children participate in art projects.

Return to Happiness: “Kids have special needs after a disaster,” Sandler explains. “Their normal life is gone. They have seen so many scary things.” A UNICEF program called Return to Happiness helps kids cope with their Diplomat Edition

Flooding at Arnold Middle School in Houston, TX

Disasters happen in the United States too. American schools, however, can often open again quickly. This past April, for example, heavy rains caused flooding in Houston, Texas. The floods closed major roads. Schools, businesses, and homes were damaged. Some people had to be evacuated from their homes by boats. About 200,000 students missed a week of school. The Cypress-Fairbanks school district had the most damage. Officials estimated that repairing those schools would cost $5 million to $6 million. Insurance is expected to cover the costs. Because there was so much destruction, FEMA provided financial help. FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is a part of the government that helps Americans recover from disasters. “Rising water caused the most damage,” explains school district official Roy Sprague. “We had to replace three gym floors, a football field, and 10,000 yards of carpet. That is like replacing carpet in 45 homes.” After the storm, hundreds of volunteers and staff helped clean up the damage. Repairs were done throughout the summer to ensure that school buildings were ready to open again this fall. UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016


A K.I.N.D. Way to Help

My Cub Scout pack helped buy desks for kids in Malawi, Africa.


i! I am a member of Cub Scout pack #3415 in Birmingham, Alabama. Two years ago, Mrs. Mozella Pack, one of our Cub Scout leaders, suggested a project. She asked if we would work to raise money for Kids in Need of Desks (K.I.N.D.). The money would buy desks for children in Malawi, a country in Africa. We thought Mrs. Pack’s suggestion sounded like a good idea, and we all agreed. I was 8 years old when I began working on the project. I wanted to know more about the K.I.N.D. fund,

Help buy desks for kids in Africa, just as Tyler did. Find out how at day-no-desks. n Write to your member of Congress and ask him or her to vote for the Education for n


UNICEF ACT n Fall 2016

so I researched it. I saw that many kids in Africa don’t have desks to sit at to do their schoolwork. Instead they sit crisscross applesauce on the floor. This could make it hard to write. It would also be very uncomfortable all day. Learning this motivated me to work hard. Together, the 14 kids in our Cub Scout pack did a project every month for a year to earn money. We had a bake sale, washed cars, put on a fashion show, and hosted a spaghetti dinner. In the end, we raised a lot of money: $18,067.75! That was more than any other group

raised for the K.I.N.D. project. Our pack felt really good about what we did. We know that when kids anywhere learn, their knowledge benefits the whole world. n Tyler Cromwell is 10 years old. His Cub Scout pack 3415 is sponsored by the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The K.I.N.D. campaign was started by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC. You can read the report of another Cub Scout, Alexander Mathis, participating in this project at

All Act of 2016. Learn more at n Volunteer to tutor other kids or with a group that provides educational help to those in need. n Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF this Halloween and collect donations, big and small, that add up to lifesaving change for children. Learn more and order boxes at


By Tyler Cromwell

Diplomat Edition

Shut Out of School, Diplomat Edition  

Kids need to go to school. But what happens in times of crisis?

Shut Out of School, Diplomat Edition  

Kids need to go to school. But what happens in times of crisis?