Act Now

The Time to Act Campaign

The Time to Act campaign breaks through the most persistent barriers preventing Syrian children from going to school.

UNHCR is uniquely positioned to identify and reach refugee children who have had their lives uprooted by the conflict.

With your support, the children of Syria will build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Barriers to education

Our work will go beyond the necessary provision of facilities, materials, and teachers to allow war-affected children to overcome their individual challenges.

Barriers to education

Fears and nightmares

Syrian children are struggling to forget the unspeakable horrors they have witnessed. Bombs and missiles have destroyed their homes, communities and schools; friends and family members have been killed and raped, sometimes before their eyes.

Time to Act. UNHCR will provide psychosocial support, such as individual and family counselling, recreation activities and more specialised support at youth friendly spaces, community centres and UNHCR registration centres.

Barriers to education

Either work or education

Many parents are forced to make the choice between basic needs and schooling, and increasingly decide to send their children to work to ease their financial stress. Children as young as seven work long hours for little pay, often in difficult and dangerous conditions. One in two refugee households surveyed relied to some extent on the income generated by a child.

Time to Act. UNHCR will give financial support to help the most vulnerable families meet their basic needs, such as rent or medical expenses. The ‘Back- to-School’ programme will also work with these families to enrol their children in school.

Barriers to education

Not healthy enough to learn

Lack of sufficient food and nutrients stalk Syrian refugee children, with serious, long-term consequences for their physical and mental development. Poor hygiene, unsafe drinking water, extreme weather and a lack of vaccinations compound the situation and create a breeding ground for life-threatening diseases.

Time to Act. UNHCR’s ‘Fit-for-School’ programme will enrol vulnerable children in food voucher schemes, allowing their parents to purchase the food they need. Time to Act will also help fund water, safety and hygiene programmes, and make essential medicines available.

Health care:“Fit-for-School” program

Barriers to education

The lure of going back

The volatile environment in the border areas of Jordan and Lebanon can lead children, especially boys, to consider returning to Syria to join the struggle and to face unpredictable risks.

Time to Act. Building on a new initiative in Jordan, UNHCR will increase its monitoring of the return process and will deliver an information campaign for those at risk of recruitment. It will also provide opportunities for vocational training and further education – keeping adolescents busy with learning, not war.

Barriers to education

Living without an identity

An increasing number of refugee babies born outside of Syria are at risk of having no nationality. Without birth certificates, they are at direct risk of a stateless existence, outside of official protection or support, and without the rights most citizens take for granted, like accessing education and employment markets.

Time to Act. UNHCR and partners will continue to work to ensure every child is registered at birth. It will also help to fund vital awareness raising activities to help parents understand why birth registration is so crucial for their child’s future.



Registration of births to allow children to have nationality and access to education


The Time to Act campaign 2014

UNHCR will not rest until every child is able to access education. Here you can see what we have been able to do in 2014 thanks to your support so far.

Read the report