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George Clooney and Amal Clooney are paying it forward—literally.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice has partnered with Google, HP and UNICEF to open seven public schools for Syrian refugee children. More than 3,000 refugee children in Lebanon will benefit from the program. “They have been victims of geography and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope,” the Clooneys, who founded their charity in late 2016, said in a press release. “Our goal with this initiative is to help provide Syrian refugee children with an education and put them on a path to be the future leaders their generation desperately needs.”
(HP provided a $1 million technology grant, while Google.org made a “generous donation.”)
Currently, close to 200,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are out of school.
“We must ensure that we do not fail those most vulnerable victims who have managed to flee the carnage in Syria,” David Pressman, ambassador and executive director of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, said. “It is our hope that the refugee children who will soon start school through this initiative will have a chance to contribute to building a more peaceful and just world and, hopefully, one where those responsible for these grave crimes are held to account.”
The schools are expected to open this year, according to the press release.
UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake thanked the couple for their aid. “How can children become the workers and leaders of their countries someday if they have not had the education and support they need to reach their full potential? By supporting the work of UNICEF and our partners to deliver education to every child affected by the conflict in Syria, the Clooney Foundation for Justice is not only investing in the futures of individual children, it is investing in the future of the entire region,” Lake said. “UNICEF is deeply grateful for this critical funding.”
In a statement, Marwan Hamadeh, Lebanon’s Minister of Education, said his government “is profoundly grateful” to the foundation for its financial contribution. “We are also looking forward to collaborating with the Clooney Foundation and its partners on advancing innovative technology in all our classrooms. Each child given access to education, and new ways of learning, represents a life changed for the better,” he said. “Today’s grant from the Clooney Foundation for Justice is therefore a crucial investment in future generations in Lebanon.”