November 20, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement:
“On World Children’s Day, Canada commits to taking action to improve the lives of children so that they can thrive and achieve their dreams and potential. The challenges are considerable. Worldwide, COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of 9 out of 10 learners. Almost 200 million of them are children, including adolescents and youths, living in countries facing humanitarian crises.
“Canada’s focus is on reaching the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized children, including refugees, forcibly displaced children, and children in host communities. Without school feeding programs, these children face food insecurity. Without school, they are missing out on a safe place to grow and thrive. For the most vulnerable children, school provides safety, access to vital nutrition and health services and the opportunity of a brighter future.
“Refugee and other forcibly displaced children are disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When schools are closed, girls and adolescent girls are at greater risk of gender-based violence and child, early and forced marriage. The United Nations estimates that there will be 13 million additional cases due to COVID-19 alone of child, early and forced marriage over the next few years, with at least 4 million of these marriages happening in the next 2 years. Many of these marriages could be prevented if girls were in school.
“Every child deserves a quality education in an environment that is safe and inclusive—even in the midst of a pandemic. We know the value each child and young person brings to a society and we know the potential that can be unlocked through education. Every child deserves that chance. The transformative power of education opens doors to better health, well-being and opportunity. These doors must be open to all.”