Appropriate learning supplies for children and adolescents help to fulfill their right to education and equip them for the future.

Two girls, using with school supplies provided by UNICEF, sit at their classroom desk in a makeshift school that welcomed 900 displaced children in the Jibreen shelter, Syria, in December 2016.

The challenge

Globally, 264 million children and adolescents do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school. Some are children who are uprooted by conflicts and other emergencies. Others are missing out on school because of poverty, disability or discrimination.  

To bring access to education for these children, we need, among other things:

  • A safe, child-friendly space to learn and play
  • Safe and age-appropriate supplies to help learning and development

These can be challenging to accommodate in emergency situations or in remote places that are hard to reach. Moreover, the needs for learning and emotional support can be different depending on the context, especially for children experiencing trauma following a humanitarian crisis. 

The solution

UNICEF works to provide learning opportunities for children facing poverty, discrimination, armed conflict and other emergencies, delivering education supplies all over the world to ensure their right to education.   

Supplies like toys, recreational equipment and learning materials are part of the solution, from early childhood to adolescence. We ensure that the toys and books we deliver are child-friendly and age-appropriate, while being sensitive to gender and cultural considerations. We also aim to ensure that products are inclusive for children with disabilities.

These items provide access to play and learning, helping to regain a sense of normalcy for children and young people in vulnerable situations. With instructors who are equipped, we can support children to grow and gain skills for the future. In addition, UNICEF provides tents in large sizes that can be used for temporary classrooms and recreational activities.

UNICEF specializes in education kits that support learning programmes worldwide. Some of our iconic kits include the School-in-a-Box, the Early Childhood Development Kit and the Recreation Kit. They are adapted in different languages and to different situations. Other pre-packed kits include supplies for adolescents, and for maths and science education.  

    A teacher talks to several students raising their hands in a makeshift temporary classroom created in a UNICEF tent in Uganda, in September 2019.

    Environmentally sustainable supplies

    UNICEF is also reducing harmful waste from supplies and lowering carbon emissions. Working with suppliers for education products, we are choosing:  

    • Bio-compostable bags to replace plastic bags in School-in-a-Box and Early Childhood Development kits. This will save 200 tonnes of plastic annually.  
    • Recovered paper fibres for more than 6,000 tonnes of paper procured annually for education materials. This can conserve forests and lower carbon emissions.
    • Certified (Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)) wood for pencil production, for around 100 tonnes of wood. This ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests.  
    • Recycled aluminium boxes to facilitate safe storage and easy transportation of education kits for humanitarian response.
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