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PricewaterhouseCoopers donates $4 million to educate Darfur's refugees

News Stories, 12 August 2008

© PwC/B.Link
PwC CEO Sam Di Piazza, Jr (right) presents a $4 million cheque to UNHCR officials in New York to support the education of Darfur's refugee children in eastern Chad.

NEW YORK, August 12 (UNHCR) PricewaterhouseCoopers has donated US$4 million towards the education of refugee children in eastern Chad's camps, in the single largest corporate donation ever received by the UN refugee agency.

The firm, also known as PwC, presented UNHCR with a cheque for US$4 million in New York on Monday. The funds will be used to build and operate schools for refugee children who have fled the conflict in Darfur, western Sudan. Specifically, more than 20,000 children aged between six and 14 years in the refugee camps of Iridimi, Touloum and Am Nabak in eastern Chad will have access to education in a safe learning environment. The children and their teachers will receive a daily meal. Teacher training and school supplies will also be provided.

"The donation from PwC employees is the largest single company donation UNHCR has ever received. Their generosity will provide direct assistance to refugee children from Darfur who currently have limited options for education," explained António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "Working together, UNHCR and PwC are committed to providing these children with hope for a better future."

More than 6,000 PwC staff members in more than 100 countries contributed to the 10-day "Power of 10" campaign, which was created by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers together with UNHCR to recognize the 10th anniversary of the company's creation.

"This programme will help the children of Darfur maintain hope for a better life through education. It represents the people of PricewaterhouseCoopers at their best," said Samuel A. DiPiazza, Jr, global Chief Executive Officer of PwC. "We have built a strong, successful organization over the past 10 years and demonstrated that we can accomplish great things when we work together. Our unique partnership with UNHCR is evidence of what can be accomplished when elements of the public and private sectors make a commitment to work together to get things done. The impact is profound."

UNHCR will soon begin working with local and international non-governmental organisations in eastern Chad to begin the construction of new schools and repairs on existing classrooms. The work is due to be completed within two years. The PwC contribution will provide sustainable education to refugee children for at least five years.

Some 250,000 refugees from Darfur are now living in 12 camps established and maintained by UNHCR in eastern Chad.

Roelf Kleon, a Power of 10 contributor from PwC Netherlands, said at Monday's event that the campaign had made him appreciate his good fortune in being able to grow up in a country where education is available for everyone. "When I saw the Power of 10 challenge, I, and many others, felt the responsibility to try to give the children of Darfur the same powerful tool for development that we have had," he said.

The Power of 10 campaign took place over 10 business days across PwC's global network of companies. Individual contributions were made by over 6,100 employees, with an average individual donation of $200. Some PwC firms also made institutional contributions on behalf of their employees.

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The Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals

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Education

Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes.

DAFI Scholarships

The German-funded Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative provides scholarships for refugees to study in higher education institutes in many countries.

Education for Displaced Colombians

UNHCR works with the government of Colombia to address the needs of children displaced by violence.

Two million people are listed on Colombia's National Register for Displaced People. About half of them are under the age of 18, and, according to the Ministry of Education, only half of these are enrolled in school.

Even before displacement, Colombian children attending school in high-risk areas face danger from land mines, attacks by armed groups and forced recruitment outside of schools. Once displaced, children often lose an entire academic year. In addition, the trauma of losing one's home and witnessing extreme violence often remain unaddressed, affecting the child's potential to learn. Increased poverty brought on by displacement usually means that children must work to help support the family, making school impossible.

UNHCR supports the government's response to the educational crisis of displaced children, which includes local interventions in high-risk areas, rebuilding damaged schools, providing school supplies and supporting local teachers' organizations. UNHCR consults with the Ministry of Education to ensure the needs of displaced children are known and planned for. It also focuses on the educational needs of ethnic minorities such as the Afro-Colombians and indigenous people.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Education for Displaced Colombians

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

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