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Amal & George Clooney and Google Put $1 Million Towards Syrian Refugee Education

21 September, 2016
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"It doesn't matter who you are, or where you're from. It always starts with one question: What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The voice is instantly familiar: George Clooney narrates a video in which young Syrian refugees in Lebanon state their ambitions. A teacher, an architect, a cardiologist. It's this wealth of potential that actor George and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney are investing in with the first venture of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, according to USA Today.

In Lebanon alone, nearly 2 million Syrians have been displaced, many of whom are refugees from the current civil war. Human rights and political organizations from the UN to the EU have warned of a possible 'lost generation' - a generation of children growing up without access to citizenship, safe shelter, and basic needs such as healthcare and education.

Just one initiative amongst contributions from 51 corporations worldwide, the Clooney Foundation for Justice told USA Today that they plan to collaborate with SABIS, an education provider with previous experience integrating refugee children into its schools' programs. The Foundation wishes to provide education in English, human rights and computer programming. 

As part of this, Google for Education - one of Google's CSR arms - will donate $1 million as well as offering technical expertise to the computer programming classes. 

Amal Clooney told USA Today: "We want to get every single out-of-school child in Lebanon an education. My own family left Lebanon when there was a war there, and I couldn't have done any of the work I have done without having been able to have an education."

The effort comes soon after Amal Clooney's UN speech introducing UN Goodwill Ambassador, Yazidi woman Nadia Murad Basee Taha. In the speech, she called on the UN and the international community to face up to human rights abuses in the Syrian Civil War.

Last September, Google for Education started a campaign to match-fund every dollar donated to the global refugee crisis. According to their site, “This grant will support expanding their efforts to develop a new school model, using digital tools, for up to 10,000 out-of-school children in Lebanon. Through our employee volunteering program, we’ll also provide technical expertise to help with everything from connectivity to cloud storage by having Googlers helping both on the ground and remotely.”

Google's CSR is committed to spending 1% of profits on philanthropic causes, as well as a significant portion of employee time and expertise.

Image: Glyn Lowe // CC BY 2.0

Tags MENA Because Lebanon Syria Syrian refugees lost generation education CSR social enterprise NGO volunteering Google Google for Education SABIS George Clooney Amal Clooney Clooney Foundation for Justice match-funding