Egyptian and Liverpool football star Mohamed Salah has been named as the first ambassador for the UN Instant Network Schools programme, which aims to connect young refugee and host country students to high quality online education. As of this year, 20 new Instant Network Schools will be launched, with some opening in Salah's native Egypt for the first time.
According to a statement by the UNHCR, Salah will support the programme through public appearances at schools participating in the initiative. He will also help to raise awareness of the need and importance of quality education for refugee children, and for more investment in technology that connects students with the outside world which will provide them with more opportunities to shape their future.
"Being an ambassador for this project makes me proud," said Salah at a launch event in London. "Education gives you a much better chance in life. Once you have that, no one can take it from you."
The Instant Network Schools programme was set up in 2013 as a partnership between Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR. It aims to give a quality education to 500,000 refugee and host country students by 2025.
Over 50 per cent of the world's 65.3 million displaced people are children. The average length of time someone is displaced is 20 years, meaning a child can be born, raised and spend their education life in schools within the limited environment of refugee camps.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt are predominantly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The government grants refugees and asylum-seekers of all nationalities access to primary and secondary health care on a par with Egyptian citizens.