School transportation essential to keep vulnerable children in Jordan learning
With UNICEF’s support, thousands of children living in remote areas in Jordan are overcoming one of the biggest challenges to receiving an education: school transportation
Lina, 8, is all smiles as she boards the UNICEF-supported bus to her school from the remote farm on the outskirts of Amman where she lives with her family. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, just like the one in the public school that she attends with her younger sister.
“If it weren’t for this bus, my children would not be able to make it to school,” says her father Ahmad, a Syrian refugee. The nearest school is 15 kilometers away and, although Ahmad is a huge supporter of his daughters’ education, he cannot afford to pay for their school transportation.
“I tell my children that they need to learn and continue their education. It’s better for them. I really don’t want to send them to work.”
Without reliable transportation options, many vulnerable children, like Lina, who live in remote areas of Jordan are at risk of dropping out. Long distances, harsh weather conditions and safety concerns make walking to school unsafe and impractical, while families experiencing financial hardship cannot afford to pay private transport fees.
To ensure that children can realize their right to an education, every year UNICEF supports school transportation for 2,500 vulnerable children living in remote areas. Yasmine, 12, is another student who couldn’t attend and stay in school without this vital support.
“I love school. I’m determined to continue my education. My Dad encourages me to keep learning. He asks me what I want to become when I grow up and I always answer him, ‘when I grow up, I will be able to decide for myself.’”
Yasmine’s dream is to complete the final year ‘Tawjihi’ exams in Jordan and become a university student.
Children living in this remote settlement are particularly at risk of child labour as their parents work as low-skilled laborers on the farms where they live.
17-year-old Ahmad wakes up early each morning to go to work on a nearby farm so that he can earn enough money to support his mother who is a single parent. He’s grateful that, after a quick stop at home to get ready, the school bus is waiting for him and gets him to school on time. Otherwise, he would be facing at least a two-hour return journey by foot, an impossibility with his current schedule.
“Life here is full of challenges. I work in the mornings, and I also work after school. By the end of the day, I’m extremely tired,” says Ahmad. “But education is so important to me. Without this bus, I wouldn’t be able to go to school and achieve the knowledge I need.”
Despite the acute needs of these vulnerable children and young people, a lack of funding is threatening the provision of school transportation and other essential services provided by UNICEF to Syrian refugee and other vulnerable children in Jordan for the coming year. UNICEF has appealed to the international community to continue supporting these services to help give children a chance for a better future.
UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Germany, through KfW, for their generous support to help continue school transportation in 2023 for 2,500 children, like Lina, Yasmine and Ahmad.