What did you imagine as a child? Summer or snow days? Maybe magic and far off worlds?
Dyana, a 13-year-old Syrian girl living as a refugee in Lebanon imagines something different. “I imagine a school to be very beautiful. With paintings of girls and boys on the walls,” she says.
Her statement inspired the title of a new interactive documentary produced by UNICEF and Vignette Interactive. #ImagineaSchool is a powerful glimpse into Lebanese refugee camps. It lets you discover the stories of 19 children through moving videos and photographs.
For example, photographers took a photo of a group of Syrian refugee children with their informal refugee settlement as the backdrop. Then, they took another photo, this time only with the students that were currently attending school. The empty spaces create a chilling reminder that the chance to go to school is not something that should be taken for granted. Only half of Syrian refugee children have that possibility.
There is a danger of losing a whole generation to lack of education. Children who do not go to school are at high risk for child labor in agriculture, factory work, construction, or on the streets. For most, education is the only way out of the cycles of poverty and discrimination.
“I do not know how to read and write. I only know how to draw the sun, they sky, and the sea,” says one six-year-old child, Fares. “My house is like a prison. I want to go to school.”
Organizations are hard at work to accomplish the vision of sending more children to school. UNICEF and the Government of Lebanon have given 150,000 children access to school. Education Cannot Wait is a new global fund working to transform education in crises by using a collaborative approach. A World at School is a global movement that includes thousands of young people, NGOs, businesses, faith leaders and leaders from local and international government who believe in the right to safe, quality education that is free from discrimination for all children.
At Project Picture Day, we believe that no child should have to imagine school. We are committed to helping children turn their dreams to reality.
Written by Mary Donovan