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A Brighter Future for Refugee Kids, Through Learning and Laughter

Sherrie Westin
Still image from “Investing in the Future for Syrian Refugee Children.”   Syrian refugee children—now living in uncertain conditions in multiple countries—are in dire need of both educational and psychological support. Here’s how a new and unique partnership is trying to help.

The needs of refugees and stateless persons are many. They span the short-term (food, shelter) to the long-term (early childhood, education, mental health) too.

In fact, according to Sherrie Westin, the executive vice president for global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, out of all humanitarian aid, “less than two percent … goes to education needs, and a fraction of that goes to early education.”

To address this injustice, which threatens to scar and disadvantage a generation of Syrian children, Sesame Workshop, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, worked to develop educational programs specifically conceived to address such needs and limit long-term repercussions for Syrian children now living in Jordan.

Thanks to a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, this pilot project, which was initially funded by the Open Society Foundations and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, will soon be expanded into Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon—ultimately reaching up to nine million children.

To learn more about this unique partnership, and the educational needs of Syrian refugees throughout the world, watch the video above.

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