"Schools Out for Summer"

children
By Leonard Doyle

Do you know that education for internally displaced people is an inherent human right? I'm not sure Alice Cooper, the outrageous American rocker behind "Schools Out" did. In fact international law dictates that it should be available to all IDPs without exception.

As the articles in this special edition devoted to education point out, internally displaced people continue to be among the most disadvantaged groups worldwide in accessing this right. For example, in Myanmar more than half a million IDPs have been living without access to education for years, same is true in Colombia and Sudan. The list goes on.

A month ago this newsletter published this extraordinary photograph (left) of a young Haitian boy crawling under the gate that defines the international border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. [Original article] It read in part:

“Imagine for a minute that you’re seven years old, like the young boy in the photograph. Each morning you wake up at 6.15am and put on a school uniform – not just any uniform, but the school uniform of another country’s educational system. You walk half a kilometer until you reach a gate – not just any gate, but an international gate defining the border between two countries. The border is closed, so you crawl under the gate. You barely fit. Then you walk another two and a half kilometers and slide into your chair: the school day begins.”

The photograph and accompanying story generated wide interest with calls and emails coming from the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and the BBC among others. It has been republished on the cover of a new global youth magazine in India among others. A good photo editor will tell you that a winning photo has to engage the viewer on one of two levels, the head or the heart. This photo does both. It reminds us of the terrible burden that Haitian youth endure because of a failed educational system that leaves a majority illiterate, and it captures our hearts because we know that for an accident of history that boy scrambling under the border just to go to school could be our own.

Please read the stories, watch the videos, read our migration journal about IDP training, and see what you can do to advocate for the neglected human right of education for IDPs.

- See more at: http://www.iom.int/newsletters/issue22/#sthash.eImARf7k.dpuf

Leonard Doyle is the head of Online Communications for IOM