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Lee Bo-reum found school almost intolerable. As a young woman, she was outed to her peers as a lesbian, and was ostracized and bullied by her classmates for her sexual orientation. As the mistreatment persisted, she eventually became depressed and…
News

The Pandemic has Brought to the Fore Systemic Deficiencies Affecting Children’s Education

Like millions of other children, Mia Sulastri has been putting in extra effort to keep up with her studies. When her school in Indonesia closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 17-year-old travelled 24 kilometres by motorbike, four times a week, to…
Children attending class on the first day of school, which was damaged by an airstrike during fighting between Saudi-led coalition-backed government forces and Houthi forces, Taizz, Yemen, September 3, 2019. © 2019 Ahmad al-Basha/AFP/Getty Images
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I’ve spent most of my career talking to parents who moved heaven and earth to get their children an education. There was the mother from Mogadishu, Somalia, who told me she gave thanks every afternoon when her children returned safely…
A young girl wearing a face mask holds up a cell phone
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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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On Human Rights Day, Celebrating People Who Make the World Better

This Human Rights Day I’m celebrating my sister’s commitment to lifting up the lives of girls and giving them a chance at realizing their potential. I think of my sister Vicky as a warrior in the fight for human rights, and on December 10, I’m…
Vicky, a teacher in a girls’ school in Kenya, is dedicated to empowering girls. 
News

Harms Girls and Reduces Nation's Potential

"I didn't go back to school, because I didn't have anyone to give me advice," "Harriet" told me. "I wish someone would've come to talk to me about school and encourage me." We were sitting in   her brother's home in Migori county, western…
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Graduating into a global pandemic was never going to be easy. But for some in the high school class of COVID-19, their academic futures were further jeopardized by a predictive algorithm that assigned them final grades without explanation or means…
Students walk along a corridor at a school for girls in the U.K. that offers the International Baccalaureate program.
News
Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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"I loved school," said 11-year-old Radwan. "I liked to study math, and I miss going to school very much." Radwan could be any one of the more than 1.5 billion students whose schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is not. Radwan is…
Rohingya refugee students demonstrate against being expelled from Bangladeshi secondary schools in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, February 6, 2019.
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And the steps African governments can and must take to mitigate it.

Abigail*, a young woman who lives in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare became pregnant by a much older married man when she was 14. She had left school because her mother couldn’t afford to pay for her fees, books and other school supplies. Her mother was…
School closed in Nairobi, Kenya
News
UNESCO reports that 119 countries have closed schools nationwide since the COVID-19 outbreak, disrupting the learning and education of an estimated 897 million students. Millions more could be affected as more countries order school closures.…
An empty classroom in Senegal
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When Abba M. learned that a sexual partner had exposed her to the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, she did “a bunch of Googling.” The 21-year-old Alabama resident knew very little about it. Turning to her friends proved…
A billboard by the Alabama Department of Public Health in Eutaw, Greene County, raises awareness of recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
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With Millions Out of School, the Countdown Begins to Get All Children into Quality, Accessible Education

  In 2018, about 260 million children and youth did not go to school, according to data collected by the United Nations. That’s one in every five worldwide. And 617 million youth worldwide lacked basic mathematics and literacy skills…
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“Azida” is a 12-year-old girl, born in Myanmar, but now growing up in neighboring Bangladesh. Forced out of her home at age 10 by a military campaign of ethnic cleansing, she now lives in the sprawling Cox’s Bazar refugee camps on the southern…
Posters inside a “learning center”
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What does it mean to be a human rights voter? Support candidates who want the government to adopt and enforce laws that promote and protect human rights. This means candidates who defend people from abusive systems, officials, individuals, and…
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In late 2018, Sierra Leone's First Lady, Fatima Bio, opened a national campaign "Hands Off Our Girls."   Her campaign made big promises to reduce child marriages and teenage pregnancies in the country, in part to tackle the…
“Angela,” 20, walks with her son near her home after returning from school in Migori county, western Kenya
News

Austerity Budget Could Further Marginalize Children with Disabilities

People with disabilities in Lebanon have the right to education without discrimination. However, nearly 19 years after that right was guaranteed under Law 220, the government has still not taken the necessary steps to fully put it into…
School-age children in Lebanon.