Today UNICEF UK ambassador Tom Hiddleston met with the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and pupils from Hampstead School, London.

Tom Hiddleston with the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and pupils from Hampstead School, London.
Tom Hiddleston with the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and pupils from Hampstead School, London.

A discussion took place about the UK’s role in keeping children safe in humanitarian emergencies.

Pupils shared their views on what they think is important in the lead up to the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time. Top of their minds was the refugee crisis, protecting schools in war zones, and ensuring children’s rights and voices are recognised regardless of their situation or background.

Unicef UK Ambassador Tom Hiddleston said: "Children are facing more devastating wars and disasters than ever before. I have seen for myself in South Sudan that children are the hardest hit in emergencies. Children have been killed, orphaned, forced to become soldiers, kidnapped, and traumatised.

“Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children now live in countries affected by crisis. Every single one of these children should be at school and learning. Education is a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war and disasters.

“At the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time, a ground-breaking new fund will be launched to get vital education to every child in need. We must make sure that education in emergencies is prioritised, otherwise a generation of children living in conflict and natural disasters will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions of children and their families. We must invest in their futures now.”

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said: "When I speak to young people I am struck by how passionate they are about international issues and today’s debate with pupils at Hampstead School was no exception. At DFID we put young people at the heart of everything we do, whether it is supporting Syrian refugees to get an education, eradicating poverty, or improving access to healthcare and jobs in some of the poorest countries in the world.

“I’ll be taking many of the views I have heard today to the World Humanitarian Summit later this month when I discuss with world leaders how the international community can better respond to crises around the globe.”

Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children – 462 million – now live in countries affected by crisis. Education is a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war and disasters. One in six of these children – 75 million – have been identified as the most in danger of missing out on getting a quality education.

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