Minister Jason Kenney visits Maallaqa Aradi Zahle refugee settlement in Lebanon
Minister Jason Kenney visits Maallaqa Aradi Zahle refugee settlement in Lebanon –
Canada will provide greater learning opportunities to vulnerable children from Syria and Lebanon
July 25, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, announced on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, that Canada will contribute to UNICEF’s Improving Access to Quality Education for all Children initiative in Lebanon. Minister Kenney made the announcement during a visit to the Maallaqa Aradi Zahle informal refugee settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
“I am proud to announce Canada’s contribution to improve education service delivery in Lebanon,” said Minister Kenney. “This project will address the challenges of providing good quality education to vulnerable girls and boys from Syria and Lebanon and also contributes to Canada’s comprehensive development, humanitarian and security response to the Syrian crisis.”
Today’s announcement will help provide increased access for vulnerable school-aged girls and boys from Syria and Lebanon to quality learning opportunities within the public education system in Lebanon, reaching up to 125,000 children in 500 public schools. Children will also benefit from rehabilitated water and sanitation facilities in schools where these needs are particularly acute.
“This announcement is another example of Canada’s leadership in addressing the education needs of children affected by the Syrian conflict,” added Minister Paradis. “We are pleased to be working with UNICEF and Lebanon’s Ministry of Education to provide the best quality education and learning opportunities, while also rehabilitating and improving school buildings to make them safe and healthy learning environments conducive to enhancing student learning outcomes.”
Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March of 2011, Canada has worked to support the Syrian people and has given generously to the various international efforts to support the Syrian people, including those living as refugees in neighboring countries. We have been active in calling on the international community to come together and defend the rights of the Syrian people to determine their own future. To date, Canada has committed more than $630 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syria crisis.
The situation in Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe and the source of countless human rights abuses, including gross violations of religious freedom. Canada deplores the continued persecution of Christians resulting from the conflict in Syria, in particular brutal attacks carried out by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS has made it clear that it seeks to eradicate the fragile, but nevertheless resilient tradition of religious tolerance that people in the region have enjoyed for centuries. Canada will continue to express its support for the Syrian and Iraqi people as they struggle to defend their freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.