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International Literacy Day: school, an absolute priority

September 8 2020

School of Peace
childrenhuman rightsHumanitarian emergencies

The Schools of Peace in Italy and all over the world to ensure school support and health education

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8 September is the International Literacy Day, established by UNESCO to commemorate the universal right to education and remind the importance of literacy as a driver of development. The celebration  is  particularly meaningful  this year, as the world is still facing the Covid-19 crisis.  Schools were closed in many countries as  one of the most dramatic consequences of the pandemic. According to a recent UNICEF report, a third of the world's student population - 463 million children and young people - were unable to access distance education due to lack of IT resources during the lockdown.

Faced with this global educational emergency, the Community of Sant'Egidio has mobilised in 70 countries throughout the world to organise summer camps and remedial classes for children who had been deprived of school. The Schools of Peace have never stopped in Nyumanzi,  a camp in Uganda where South Sudanese refugees live. Also in Mozambique children, displaced by terrorist attacks in the North of the country or by recent cyclones in Central-South have continued to attend the Schools of Peace.

Last August, the School of Peace was organized with English and Maths classes for the refugees in Moria camp, Lesvos prefecture. The courses also provided the youngest with  basic knowledge on preventive measures  explaining how to keep distance, wear a mask safely and properly ensure hand hygiene to reduce the chances of coronavirus infection.

In many Italian cities - Genoa, Lecce, Naples, Milan, Padua and Rome, just to name a few - hundreds of volunteers have taken turns  in Summer Schools, free educational summer camps, to support thousands of children and young students  and recover subjects neglected during lockdown. While millions of Italian families are awaiting the reopening of school, Sant'Egidio hopes school will be considered an absolute priority, everyone will be guaranteed educational activities in schools of all levels and the most fragile ones  will not be forgotten in the event of distance learning. Education is a universal right and must be guaranteed to everyone.