The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to shut across the globe, but for many children, that’s not the only barrier to the education they face.
Violence and abuse – such as sexual exploitation, child marriage, and child labour – prevent millions of children from going to school every year.
Dr. Carine Le Borgne, Senior Policy Advisor at World Vision UK, said: “At the peak of the pandemic, 1.6 billion children were out of school – that’s over 90 percent of the world’s student population. But for many children living in the world’s most dangerous places, forced into things like child labour, exploitation and child marriage, it’s not as simple as turning up to class – even when schools are open.”
Carine added: “Sadly, the pandemic has amplified this crisis. As livelihoods are lost and parents struggle to put food on the table, domestic and child abuse and children being forced into exploitative situations has increased – stopping children from accessing the education they deserve and need.”
World Vision estimates that coronavirus has put four million extra girls at risk of child marriage over the next two years, while as many as one million girls across sub-Saharan Africa may never return to school after falling pregnant during COVID-19 school closures.
Millions of children are also estimated to be at risk of child labour, and being forced into begging on the streets to help supplement family income.
In June, the UK government will host the G7 summit, bringing together leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries to discuss the global agenda.
World Vision is urging the government to use this moment to prioritise protecting children from exploitation and abuse and addressing the barriers to education.
Ahead of the summit, the charity is also asking supporters to write to their MPs, calling on them to sign an Early Day Motion showing their public support for this issue.