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The EU and UNICEF work together to provide education and protection to children caught up in emergencies around the world. © UNICEF Jordan/ 2013/Fricker

Education is fundamental for children to express their full potential and build a prosperous future for themselves and society. It is even more important during emergencies when children are often direct witnesses of atrocities and tragedies. Today, around 75 million children are out of school in countries affected by emergencies.

The EU and UNICEF work together to provide children with a place where they can feel safe and continue their education at all times.



The #EmergencyLessons communication campaign told the stories of Yaroslav and Nastya who, like many other girls and boys, have experienced war and disaster but were able to carry on their studies thanks to the assistance from the EU and UNICEF.

#EmergencyLessons was supported by European sportspeople, TV celebrities and youth influencers: British actor Tom Hiddleston; Italian European Space Agency astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti; Slovenian basketball player Boštjan Nachbar; and Hungarian news presenter and media personality Kriszta D. Tóth.

My school photo

Yaroslav and Nastya had to leave their homes when conflict erupted in Ukraine, but they continued their education in a new school supported by the EU and UNICEF. In this video, they invited social media users to spread the message about the importance of education in situations of emergencies by sharing a favourite school photo on social media using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons.

Inspired by Yaroslav and Nastya, Tom Hiddleston shared his own, age 4.

My best school friend

For Malak and Raparine, school equals friendship. The two best friends met in a school in Erbil, Iraq, built especially for children who were forced to flee their homes because of conflict.

In this video, Malak and Raparine invited people to give a shoutout to a best school friend on social media using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons.Tom Hiddleston spoke about his best friend, Joey.


My favourite school activity

School means life for many thousands of children in West Africa.

M'mah and Adamah live in Forecariah, Guinea – a country which has been seriously affected by the Ebola outbreak. Thanks to a programme by the EU and UNICEF, M'mah and Adamah were able carry on with their education during the peak of the epidemic. Many schools had closed, but the programme allowed them to be in a safe place where they could learn all about the disease and the ways to prevent it.  

In this video, M'mah and Adamah invited the audience to share their favourite school activity on social media using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons.

Tom Hiddleston reacted from the set of the film Thor 3 and explained what his favourite activity was at school.

My journey to school

Ali and Gaith fled the conflict in Mosul, Iraq, leaving their school behind. Thanks to an EU-funded UNICEF programme, Ali and Gaith were able to continue their education in the camp where they live in northern Iraq.

In this video, they showed their journey to school and invited the world to share theirs by using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons on social media.

Encouraged by the children, Tom Hiddleston recalled his car ride to school with his parents listening to comedy shows on the radio.

My dream job

Milan and Susma were affected by 2015's devastating earthquake in Nepal. Their school was destroyed but they were able to carry on studying their favourite subjects in a temporary learning centre.

In this video, Milan and Susma revealed their dream job and asked people to do the same by using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons on social media.

My favourite teacher

Teachers are fundamental in supporting and encouraging children in emergencies. For Eva, affected by the conflict in Ukraine, teachers like Miss Yelena mean the world. In this video, Eva asked viewers to give a shout out to their favourite teacher using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons on social media.

My school in emojis

School helps many children in the world cope in a situation of emergency. This is the case for Amosh and Anjali, who lived through very difficult times no child should ever experience. They survived Nepal's devastating earthquake last year, but found joy and hope for the future through school.

In this video, they asked social media users to show what school means for them through emojis, by using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons on social media.

Education in emergencies is one of the least funded humanitarian sectors with less than 2% of the global humanitarian funding allocated to this area. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of education for the development and well-being of all girls and boys.

/echo/file/lets-celebrate-what-school-means-us-all_enLet's celebrate what school means to us all

Follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #EmergencyLessons.

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