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Press Centre (7/2017)

More than 230,000 refugee children in Turkey to benefit from the conditional cash transfer for education programme

Education is the light and all children need that light.

Ankara, June- Education is the light and all children need that light. These are the words of Esra, a 9 year-old Syrian girl who had to flee her home due to the crisis in her country, and who is now studying in Turkey. She was speaking in Ankara
 last week at the launch of a programme that will help to keep her and 230,000 other Syrian children in school by providing their families with bi-monthly cash payments. There to listen were more than 150 participants including representatives of government institutions, foreign missions, European Union, United Nations, NGOs and the media.
The “Extension of the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) to Syrian and Other Refugee Children Programme” aims to increase the number of refugee children in schools by promoting school attendance, reducing drop-out rates, and encouraging enrolment. The programme also includes an important component that will ensure the follow-up of the most vulnerable children and their referral to child protection services as required.

Esra’s father Rabii is a firm believer that education is the key to ensuring a better future for his children. “I will send my 
children to school,” he declared during the launch. “I did not have the chance to be educated but I want my children to go to school. As a family, we do our best for this”.

The extension of the CCTE is being implemented through a close partnership between the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Ministry of National Education, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent and UNICEF.

The Government of Turkey has been providing conditional education support for children from the most vulnerable families in Turkey since 2003. This programme is now being extended to vulnerable refugee children in both Turkish public schools and temporary education centres.
Partnership for children
Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europesaid,“The extension of the CCTE programme to refugee children is an excellent example of putting national 
social protection systems, expertise and actors at the centre of our response to humanitarian crises. It is a recognition that longer-term sustainable interventions are required to adequately respond to protracted crises. UNICEF is grateful for the commitment of the Government of Turkey and the generous financial support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) to this important programme which makes a difference in the lives of so many children”. 

ECHO is supporting the extension of the programme to refugee children in Turkey with its largest ever humanitarian contribution to Education in Emergencies, valued at EUR 34 million. “This programme is a powerful example of what can be achieved through collaboration and partnership.” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. “This partnership has already reached more than 56,000 children which is an investment for these children’s future”. The Programme is also funded by the Governments of Norway and the United States of America.

Celebrating with the children 
In the afternoon a delegation composed of UNICEF, ECHO and Ministry of National Education representatives met with
beneficiaries of the programme at the Nazife Hatun Primary School. This school is another safe learning environment in

Turkey supported by the Government of Turkey and UNICEF, which serves more than 600 refugee students.

After visiting children in their classrooms, the delegation helped hand out report cards to the students who lined up outside in rows. The schoolyard was filled with the laughter and excitement of the children and their families.

The light of education referred to by Esra was visible on the faces of the girls and boys as they received with pride their scorecards from the hands of their visitors.

The same expression of pride was also present on the faces of their parents who were also convened to this event.
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org