To make the point that there are 27 million children unable to attend school in conflict zones, Unicef drove 27 empty school buses around the streets of New York.
Books not bombs.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) September 18, 2017
This poignant statistic is at the centre of the organisation’s new campaign to draw attention to the harm that conflict causes to the most vulnerable members of our society. The campaign was led by Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan, who was forced to give up her education when her family fled war-torn Syria in 2013.
“Education can never be seen as optional, especially in crises,” she says in a Unicef release. “Without learning, how do we expect children to be the best they can be? We must keep going until we see a world where all children go to school.”
The buses travelled from Brooklyn through lower Manhattan to Times Square carrying powerful messages including ‘School zones shouldn’t be war zones’; ‘Tonight’s homework shouldn’t include hiding,’ and ‘Avoiding landmines shouldn’t be an extracurricular activity.’
The campaign aims to raise funds for Unicef efforts in ensuring that children who are victims of conflict or natural disasters can still gain access to education.