Education Cannot Wait and NABU Mark World Book Day with the Launch of Children\'s Book, Zaya\'s Dream

The new children\'s book – created by nonprofit publisher NABU, in close collaboration with ECW – highlights the challenges and enduring resilience of the world\'s refugee children, and reflects ECW\'s mission to reach every crisis-affected child with quality education.

NEW YORK, April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- From inside makeshift refugee settlements, damaged classrooms and communities torn apart by war and disaster, millions of children today are desperately holding on to the hope that education will allow them to realize their dreams. To shine a light on this global education crisis, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and NABU joined efforts in developing the children\'s book, Zaya\'s Dream.


Zaya\'s Dream, launched today to mark World Book Day, brings readers into young Zaya\'s world as she is forced to flee her home with her family, eventually finding new hope at a refugee camp learning centre. Along her journey, Zaya learns to dream again. While Zaya is a fictional character, her story represents that of millions of children who have had their lives turned upside-down by crises. In fact, children and youth make up 40% of the world\'s refugees, according to UNHCR.

The book highlights how education is critical for all children, especially refugees. These girls and boys experience unthinkable loss and face risks of abuse, trafficking, child labor, child marriage, forced recruitment into armed groups and more. At its core, education is a source of protection for the world\'s most vulnerable children. That is why ECW, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises within the United Nations, focuses on delivering quality education to refugees and other forcibly displaced children in its education investments in crises around the world.

As a nonprofit, multilingual publisher which specialises in creating mother tongue stories, NABU aims to provide every child with inclusive and equitable access to literacy. Through mother tongue book creation, tech innovation and community engagement, NABU\'s core mission is to solve the global literacy crisis so that every child can read and rise to their full potential.

\"Zaya\'s story captures the plight of millions of girls and boys who are paying the consequences for man-made conflicts and climate disasters around the globe. It is an homage to the power of education to protect and empower those left furthest behind. Children, parents and world leaders everywhere should be inspired by this powerful story, and hopefully tap into their humanity to join our mission to deliver quality education to millions of crisis-impacted children like Zaya,\" said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait.

\"It\'s been an honor collaborating with ECW to bring Zaya\'s Dream to life. Our aspiration is that this poignant and uplifting narrative not only provides representation for refugee children but also fosters empathy among young readers worldwide, underscoring the vital significance of education. Our partnership with ECW has ignited a fervent dedication at NABU to sharing the refugee narrative and closing the learning gap for children living through displacement and crisis. In response, we are creating a comprehensive collection of stories to complement Zaya\'s Dream, with the aim of reaching millions of children who are in utmost need. The first books in this collection will be released late 2024,\" said Isabel Sheinman, Co-Creator of NABU.

Refugee children often experience interruptions to their education that last months or even years. They face many roadblocks to accessing education – including often being excluded from national education programmes in their host communities or being unable to access education in their mother tongue. Three-quarters of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries where education systems are often overstretched and underfunded. Globally, 6 out of 10 young refugees are unable to access secondary education, jeopardising their future and that of their community.

Close to half of all children reached by ECW investments are refugees or internally displaced. ECW invests in holistic education programmes that address the diverse needs of crisis-affected children – not only improving academic outcomes, but also working with partners to provide mental health and psychosocial services, school meals, menstrual hygiene management support, teacher training and more.

While refugee experiences and individual stories are unique and diverse, ECW and NABU hope that Zaya\'s Dream will inspire young readers and their families to learn more about this global crisis and what actions they can take to help make the dreams of crisis-affected children come true.

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