UNICEF - Schools for Asia Initiative

“Ending the cycle of poverty for children, their families and communities starts with EDUCATION.”

Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director

Education is a fundamental human right of every child. Investing in basic education greatly contributes to the overall economic, social and human development of communities and societies. The importance of Education for All (EFA) is embodied in Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3, which call for the achievement of full primary enrolment and completion as well as gender parity and equality in education by 2015.


The UNICEF Schools for Asia (SfAsia) initiative builds on the success of Schools for Africa and aims to give children the best start in life. This is accomplished through sound teaching and learning materials, safe and clean school facilities, well-designed curricula that include life skills education on health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation and HIV prevention, and trained teachers that provide empowering education and create environments where girls and boys are treated equally and are able to be the best that they can.


The partnership between Varkey Foundation and UNICEF:

Through the Varkey Foundation, GEMS schools are encouraged to support the UNICEF Schools for Asia initiative and make a direct impact on young people’s education, health and well-being in India, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Vietnam. This will be implemented through awareness and fundraising campaigns at school level throughout 2014.


The Varkey Foundation has made a commitment to the UNICEF Schools for Asia initiative by setting up an initial limited ‘Kick-start’ fund to support the GEMS schools in their fundraising. Funds collected in each of the GEMS Schools for their first event will be matched from a ‘Kick-start’ fund throughout the first month of the campaign. T&C apply


Some Facts About the Educational Landscape in Asia:

  • Asia and the Pacific is a region in transition. In recent years many countries have seen exponential economic growth and rapid urbanization. In several countries there have also been huge gains in education, and some regional leaders, such as Vietnam, are on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.


  • Asia and the Pacific is also a region of vast diversity and corresponding disparity in progress both between and within countries. Among the 57 million primary age children that are not enrolled in school in the world, 18 million of them live in the Asia-Pacific Region. Many countries are seeing their progress in expanding access to education plateau.


  • Innovative approaches are needed to provide quality education to all children, in particular the most marginalized such as ethnic minorities, the very poor and children with disabilities.


In response to this, SfAsia focuses on children who are less likely to receive a quality education. It aims to not only get them into schools but to make sure they finish the full education cycle.

Photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2009_0227/Josh Estey

Helping children realise their dream of education.

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