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Peace needs you

WORLD leaders meeting in Dakar two years ago promised every child on the planet would benefit from primary education by 2015. Nowhere is this need more pressing than in Afghanistan. Even before the battles that ousted the Taliban, only 38 per cent of boys received any primary education. Schooling for girls was virtually non-existent though a few courageous Afghan teachers risked punishment to keep women's education alive. Most schools have been damaged or destroyed. Many teachers have fled or been denied employment because they are women. And many of the children have been displaced or otherwise traumatised by savage violence.

Yet there is a strong consensus that getting children back into school is one of the most important ways of restoring normality. It re-establishes a sense of order in young minds, gives refugees confidence to return to their communities and provides for adults the space to rebuild their shattered lives and livelihoods.

So we are launching today an Afghanistan emergency appeal in support of UNICEF. Our aim is to share with schools their ideas for addressing these issues in classrooms and assemblies and to provide an opportunity for TES readers to support Afghan colleagues.

For all our sakes - but not least for the children of Afghanistan - we urge you and your schools to support this appeal.

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