The United Nations Refugee Agency will launch a plan to aid child refugees from Colombia who are residing in Ecuador.
The regional representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, John Fredrikson, stated over the weekend that he will soon launch a plan to allow easier access to a normal education for Colombian children who have been displaced to Ecuador.
The UN reports that of the 400,000 Colombians who have left their home due to armed conflict, 300,000 have fled to Latin American countries such as Ecuador.
Colombia’s south western border country currently hosts the largest number of refugees in Latin America with over 55,000 people within Ecuador’s border.
98% of these refugees are Colombian, and 23% of that whole (12,838 people) are children and adolescents.
For these children, displacement is a bitter experience that is only exacerbated by educational problems according to a document released by the UN on the subject.
Hopeful Colombian students have difficulties acquiring school uniforms, materials and the proper items needed to successfully register with local Ecuadorian schools.
“Integrating in school and in their neighborhoods is the essential link to a child’s new life,” continued the UN.
This is not a new issue however as for at least two years, NGOs have been asking the UN to address this problem along the Colombia/Ecuador border.
The proposed project would guarantee the “right to education without distinction of nationality or immigrant status,” and will “ensure that these rights that are articulated are realized so that children have access to education without discrimination,” according to Spanish news agency EFE.
This announcement comes after the conclusion of a year long process titled “Children of Peace” sponsored by the European Union that consisted of the gathering of hundreds of children’s testimonies about life in areas around the world that are dealing with education for child refugees.