Caritas: Global education crisis is worsening – Corona has lifelong effects on children

A third of children worldwide no longer have access to education as a result of the pandemic, and violence and hunger are also increasing. Caritas asks for donations for Kindernothilfe.

Vienna (OTS) In the course of a virtual press trip to Armenia, Caritas warns of the effects of the corona pandemic on children. Michael Landau, President of Caritas Austria: “The corona pandemic causes educational gaps and has an impact on the life of every child worldwide. But the long-term negative consequences will primarily affect the poorest countries and there in turn those children who are growing up under the most difficult conditions. ”According to UNICEF, the pandemic could impoverish around 150 million children worldwide. They find it difficult to access health care, clean water and hygiene. And for the first time in history, an entire generation’s education was interrupted.

The educational crisis intensifies – future opportunities dwindle

188 countries worldwide have closed schools in the course of the fight against Covid-19, 1.6 billion children and young people are affected by school closings. Two thirds of these receive distance learning via radio, television or the Internet. “With regard to World Education Day, it is alarming that a third of children no longer have access to education and only 30 percent of the poorest countries have switched to distance learning”, warns Andreas Knapp, Secretary General for International Programs at Caritas Austria.

“For many children, going to school does not only mean education and future opportunities, it is often also getting out of stressful family situations or the only chance for a warm meal. One of the consequences of the pandemic and the school closings is, for example, that girls are being married off in order to have one less eater at the table. Many children have to go to work to make up for a loss of earnings by their parents or to look after their siblings, ”said Knapp. The high pressure that weighs on the families through the loss of work or income as well as through cramped living conditions often also shows its effect in the increased propensity to violence in the families.

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Armenia between war and lockdown

As part of a virtual press trip, Caritas turned its gaze to Armenia. A good two months after the end of the fighting in the conflict region Nagorno-Karabakh, it is to be feared that thousands of families who had to flee to Armenia have permanently lost their homes. Armenia, which has already been badly affected, must now find a permanent solution for them. In addition, a serious domestic political crisis is looming.

“In addition, many people in Armenia are facing a major financial problem as a result of the pandemic and the generally precarious employment. There is a lack of everything: Socially disadvantaged families cannot afford mouth and nose protection or disinfectants, ”says Knapp. Caritas has been active for many years with numerous projects in Armenia to support children and children affected by poverty and is currently helping families with Corona aid packages.

What is needed: Worldwide Covid-19 education campaign …

“It is the responsibility of governments to resolutely combat inequality and poverty, which are exacerbated by the pandemic, with the aim of not leaving any child behind,” emphasizes Caritas President Landau and appeals to governments and donors: “We need a joint, Worldwide Covid-19 education offensive, which ensures that learning is kept alive despite crises and disasters, that children – especially children affected by poverty and especially girls – can safely return to schools, and resilient education systems are built ”. Access to education, protection from violence and exploitation, health care and nutrition must have top priority.

… and increasing funds for development aid

The organization Save the Children estimates that between 86 and 117 million children worldwide could fall back into a life of extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic – in addition to the 386 million children who had to live below the poverty line in 2019. In addition, for the 368.5 million children in 143 countries around the world who are previously fed through school feeding programs, new ways must be found to compensate for this shortage.

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“Development aid expenditure needs to be increased to 0.7% of GNI in order to end poverty and inequality in childhood. In 2019, more countries were in conflict than ever since the introduction of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. And crises often affect children the most, and the long-term consequences are fatal. We can increase this aid locally and we have to stick together in matters of education and poverty reduction, ”Landau appeals to the federal government.

In this way Caritas helps children affected by poverty in lockdown

Caritas Austria supports 90,000 children worldwide in learning. Particularly educational offers for girls in regions in which they are traditionally excluded from classes are showing success, since forced marriages can be prevented in many cases. In the course of the Corona crisis, an additional 30,000 children were supported with emergency aid packages last year. Measures such as food parcels, vouchers, hygiene materials and medication have alleviated the need in the short term.

Your donation = my future

Childhood is a time of laughing, playing, trying things out, carefree. It is a time of opportunities, perspectives, and dreams.

However, the future of millions of children worldwide has become even more uncertain as a result of the Corona crisis. The economic effects and the lack of a social network in many countries are exacerbating poverty. School closings prevent many children from having access to education and their hope of a promising future. We must now do something together to counter this.

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Donate now!

Erste Bank: IBAN AT23 2011 1000 0123 4560, BIC GIBAATWWXXX
Password: children in need
Online donations:

  • With 30 euros you enable a child in Armenia to visit a day center for a month.
  • With 60 euros you give a child in Armenia access to distance learning and a corona aid package for the family.
  • 100 euros enable a school class in Kenya to learn distance using solar-powered radios and provide learning materials.

We would like to thank our sponsors Erste Bank and Sparkassen as well as Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein for their support.

Inquiries & contact:

Caritas Austria
Melanie Wenger-Rami
Press spokeswoman, head of public relations
+43 664/8266920


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