DOHA: In a brief ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Education Above All Foundation (EAA) previewed the book Challenges and Reality, a new collection of images from photojournalist Maher Attar.
Educate A Child (EAC), a global programme of EAA, commissioned the book, which features photographs of out-of-school children from around the world.
The event, on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly session, was part of a high-level meeting convened by Sheikha Alya Al Thani, Qatar’s Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN, and focused on education in emergencies.
A panel of top officials representing government, multilateral institutions and NGOs, including former British prime minister Gordon Brown, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antَnio Guterres, and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbühl attended.
H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of EAA, presents the book, along with Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova and features a foreword by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the importance of education. The striking collection of photos showcase children attempting to pursue an education in the midst of poverty, conflict and the aftermath of natural disasters. The book follows in the tradition of The Cradle of Inequality, a groundbreaking collection of photos by photographer Sebastio Salgado and writer/poet Cristovam Buarque, published in 2013.
Challenges and Reality revisits many locations captured in Salgado and Buarque’s work, showing the progress — in some cases the lack of it — towards improving education for the world’s poorest and most marginalised children since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000.
“We are proud of this important new work, which shines a light on the conditions in which children in desperate conditions are striving to realise their right to a primary education,” said Marcio Barbosa, CEO, EAA. “EAA is committed to the issue of universal primary education. In the three years since H H Sheikha Moza founded EAC, EAA has put commitments in place that have brought quality education to more than six million out-of-school children, including one million refugee children.”
The book’s launch coincides with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which set the global development agenda post-2015. The goals include a commitment to finish the push for primary education for all. While progress was made in the latter years of MDGs, new conflicts and disasters have increased pressure on educational systems in affected and nearby countries and displaced millions of people, including school-age children.