Thursday January 01, 1970 - 03:00:00
We had to leave behind all of our possessions. The only thing we could bring with us is what we have in our heads, what we have been taught – our education. Education is the only thing that cannot be taken from us and upon which we can build a better life for our children.
Education is prioritised by communities and offers a lifeline to them. Communities often start up some kind of education/school themselves during an emergency. However, maintaining this during a crisis is difficult when there is less localcapacity and resources.
Although no two responses are likely to be the same, there are some components of an education response that are commonly seen in emergencies. Recreation is often valued by children during and after an emergency situation and hence provision of culturally relevant supplies and play and recreation activities are key. Establishing the space for education to take place is also key – this may be in the form of a temporary shelter made from local materials, a tent or other form of shelter. Individuals are needed to teach, care and supervise children – they may need rapid teaching training and support and supervision themselves. Often, key teaching and learning supplies are needed in order to get classes up and running, children purposefully engaged in their learning and teachers teaching with minimum stress. Children and teachers must have access to adequate water and sanitation facilities, and these should be segregated for teacher and students and boys and girls.
Schools can act as an entry point for providing other basic services such as protection, nutrition and health. This calls for close coordination between education and other humanitarian specialists to establish child friendly, safe spaces in an emergency where children learn, play, regain a sense of normalcy and access or are referred to vital services.