Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

UN General Assembly

UNGA 2020: Mo Salah vows to help fight for better education for girls

Star calls on world leaders to help improve education for refugees

Mo Salah is calling on world leaders to provide high-quality education for refugees. UNHCR
Mo Salah is calling on world leaders to provide high-quality education for refugees. UNHCR

Mo Salah has vowed to help fight for girls to get a better education during a rallying call for urgent action to tackle gaps in access to good tuition for refugees.

Appearing in a fringe event at the 75th United Nations General Assembly, the footballer listened to the experiences of four refugees from camps in Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan.

“As we face Covid-19 education is everything,” he said.

“Especially for refugee children.”

Earlier this year the Liverpool star became the first ambassador for a schools programme to help migrants in his native Egypt and other countries.

The youngsters at the event spoke about the many talents they had and their aspirations to gain a good education to achieve their potentials as doctors and scientists.

“I want to encourage girls in the future,” one youngster told him, and said he was her favourite player.

“Education is the key to success,” she said.

Salah said he reiterated her comments and called on world leaders to join him in the fight to provide education for all.

“As the father of two girls I agree with her,” he said.

“She is asking leaders in the world for girls to have a good education like everyone else.

“I wish for everyone to help refugees to get a good education. I myself and other people will help girls to fight to get a good education like everyone.”

He told the youngsters to “stay positive”.

“I’m really proud of you,” he told them.

“Keep fighting – I wish you have a good future and hope you are going to enjoy your life more now.”

He is as ambassador for the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR’s Instant Network Schools, which provides refugees and host country pupils with a high-quality digital education.

In his role, the player has visited some of the schools supported by the project, which is creating 20 Egyptian digital schools by turning classrooms into online centres for learning and sport in 2020.

The initiative aims to provide education to 500,000 pupils by 2025 and is creating 20 new schools in Egypt this year.

Instant Network Schools was set up in 2013 by Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to give young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning and the internet to improve the quality of education in some of the most marginalised communities in Africa.

To date, the programme has helped more than 86,500 pupils and 1,000 teachers, ensuring that refugees and children from the communities that host them have access to accredited and relevant learning opportunities.

There are 36 Instant Network Schools operating in eight refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR are investing €26 million (Dh111.9m) to expand the programme to benefit 500,000 refugee and host community pupils, and 10,000 teachers.

By 2025, 255 Instant Network Schools will be opened, including the 20 this year.

The project gives the schools internet connectivity, sustainable solar power and a teacher-training programme.

The Vodafone Foundation provides each classroom with 25 tablet computers for pupils, a laptop for the teacher, a projector, speaker, Wi-Fi and a digital library.

A recent evaluation of the existing programme showed a 61 per cent increase in computer literacy for pupils and improved confidence, motivation and academic performance.

Salah, who was named by Time Magazine in 2019 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, is well known for his philanthropy in areas including education.

He has been a brand ambassador for Vodafone Egypt since 2017.

Updated: September 22, 2020 06:46 PM

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