It appears nothing can stop human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her actor husband, George Clooney, when it comes to advocacy. Shortly after welcoming twins Alexander and Ella in June, the superstar couple have unveiled plans for a new humanitarian project. On Monday, the Clooney Foundation for Justice – a non-profit organization established by the pair – announced on its website that it’s helping to educate thousands of Syrian refugee children displaced in Lebanon through a US$2.25 million partnership with Unicef.
In a statement on the foundation’s website, the couple writes: “Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk – the risk of never being a productive part of society. Formal education can help change that. That’s our goal with this initiative. We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The partnership, which also received donations from Google, will provide 3,000 Syrian students with opportunities for free education. The foundation isn’t opening any new schools, but rather extending the hours so that refugee children can attend classes in the afternoon. Funding for the foundation, which also includes a US$1 million technology grant from computer giant HP, will go towards registration fees, textbooks, and teachers’ salaries.
The initiative was initially announced in 2016. “My own family left Lebanon when there was a war there, and I couldn’t have done any of the work I have done without having been able to have an education,” revealed Amal Clooney in an interview with USA Today. “We want to get every single out-of-school child in Lebanon an education.”
There are more than five million Syrian refugees worldwide, with one million in Lebanon, according to UNHCR. About 200,000 children in Lebanon aren’t going to school after fleeing the war in neighboring Syria.
This partnership is closely in line with Amal Clooney’s past work as a human rights attorney. Last year, she began to represent Isis survivor Nadia Murad on behalf of thousands of victims of the Yazidi genocide.