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The deteriorating situation inside Venezuela has so far left an estimated one million children out of school. Over the coming 12 months, UNICEF, in tandem with national partners plans to reach a total of 1.2 million children in public and subsidized schools across the country with educational supplies.
Each back-to-school kit contains a school bag holding essential learning supplies including a notebook, pencils and coloring pencils. Kits are being distributed to students in the states of Miranda, Distrito Capital, Bolívar, Zulia, Táchira, Carabobo, Portuguesa, Barinas, Apure, Falcón, Amazonas, Delta Amacuro, Anzoátegui, Sucre, La Guaira and Nueva Esparta. UNICEF is also providing teaching and learning materials, recreation kits, and Early Childhood Education kits to further support students and teachers.
“It is crucial that we keep children in school – safe environments where they can learn, socialize and even access essential services like school feeding,” said Herve Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Venezuela. “Schools also provide children with a sense of normalcy which is vital given the hardships facing many families. These back-to-school kits and learning materials will give children and teachers the tools they need to start the school year off right.”
“Bringing and keeping every child in school is always the most powerful investment, but especially in uncertain times like in Venezuela currently,” said Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director (a.i.) for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Education isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart economics beyond politics. Any additional child at risk of dropping out of school today undermines the future of the entire country tomorrow. Venezuela just can’t afford this right now.”
As one of the major humanitarian actors in Venezuela, UNICEF is working with civil society organizations, private companies and local authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to children in need through its field offices. Last month, UNICEF appealed for US $ 70 million to continue meeting the urgent ne of children, adolescents and pregnant women in Venezuela. So far, only 9 per cent of the required funding has been received.