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200 Iraqi refugee children to resume education in Marka school

By Camille Dupire - Dec 12,2017 - Last updated at Dec 12,2017

French ambassador to Jordan David Bertolotti and representative of Messengers of Peace Jordan Father Khalil Jaar deliver a speech to the Iraqi refugee children at the school of the Latin Patriarch in Marka on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of French embassy)

MARKA — The French embassy in Jordan on Tuesday signed a funding agreement with the non-governmental organisation Messengers of Peace Jordan to support the education of Iraqi refugee children living in Marka.

During the signing ceremony, which was attended by 200 future beneficiaries, their families and teachers, French Ambassador David Bertolotti said: "France is really proud to finance a project in the sector of education as it is our collective responsibility to provide these children, who have experienced war and exile, with a quality education."

"This is a fundamental right and a chance to give them a normal life," he added, stressing France's attachment to the right of education and the respect of freedom of religion and belief.

The agreement, which will provide the local school with financial assistance worth 120,000 euros, aims to support an educational programme for Iraqi refugee children, most of whom fled northern Iraq in 2014 following the offensive of the Daesh terror group. 

“France has always been considered as a key mediator in the regional conflicts and we hope that this great nation will keep working with us to find fair and sustainable solutions to the tragic situations we are experiencing,” said representative of Messengers of Peace in Jordan, Father Khalil Jaar at the school of the Latin Patriarch in Marka, where the event was held.

Two hundred children between 6 and 14 years old will benefit from the programme, which will include remedial and tutoring classes for 14 hours per week to help students catch up with the educational gap they are facing due to the war and exile.

Despite concerted efforts by the Jordanian government in cooperation with UN agencies and local and international NGOs, access to education for refugee children has still been facing numerous challenges, according to a recent report by the UNHCR.

The report, titled “Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis” indicated that over 3.5 million refugee children aged between 5 and 17 years old did not have the chance to attend school in the last academic year, including 1.5 million missing out on primary school and 2 million adolescents being out of secondary school.

Voicing his appreciation of the French support, Jaar said: "Suffering from a transit situation, these refugee children are forgotten in the international administration limbo. Through this programme, France will allow these innocent children to regain hope to live with dignity and to ensure they have a better future."

Messengers of Peace Jordan works to provide medical assistance, food and education service in Jordan for displaced families from Iraq and Syria who fled from Daesh, the NGO website said.

The financial aid was granted under the French ministry of foreign affairs' fund to support victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East.

 

Created in 2015 at the Paris conference on Syria, the fund, which is co-chaired by France and Jordan, illustrates France's commitment to support the Kingdom in light of the Iraqi and Syrian refugee crises, an embassy statement said.

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