Pearson answers Obama's call to aid refugees

Pearson answers Obama's call to aid refugees

Pearson has committed to investing in aiding refugees around the world, alongside 50 other global companies, in response to US president Barack Obama's "Call to Action". Together the companies have pledged a combined $650m.

President Obama made the plea to the private sector in June to make "new, measurable and significant commitments that will have a long-term, sustainable impact for refugees, wherever they reside", and on Tuesday (20th September) hosted a high-level meeting for private sector leaders that took place alongside the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the UN in New York City. 

The list of companies willing to help was issued by the White House this week, totalling 51 and including tech giants Google and Microsoft, start-ups Uber and Airbnb, and social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, among others in legal, financial and pharmaceutical sectors. 

Together they will help support more than 6.3 million refugees across 20 or more countries, providing educational opportunities for more than 80,000 refugees, in part by creating long-distance learning platforms and programs, and employment opportunities to 220,000 people through mentorship, training, internships and job placements to help refugees re-enter the workforce. They also aim to improve infrastructure and access to resources needed for refugees to become self-reliant, and will be partnering with 70 refugee-serving NGOs.

In particular, Pearson has pledged to extend its partnership with Every Child Learning for an additional two years and double its $2.2m investment to develop and provide quality educational products for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanian children.

Combined the companies listed have 2.5 million employees and make more than $775bn in annual revenue. 

Pearson c.e.o John Fallon said: "There will come a time when the brutal conflict will end. But the debilitating effects of a missed education will stay with a child for the rest of his or her life. Investment into Syria itself may be nearly impossible while the civil war continues, but the education of millions of innocent Syrians does not need to stop. Whether in camps like Za’atari or in the countries where they have found refuge, we have the choice to invest now or lose an entire generation.”

He added: “The world’s largest companies have a responsibility. Businesses have the reach, expertise and resources to make a real difference for people affected by conflict. This doesn’t just mean charity, it means real investment… Working together, we can ensure that the horrors of this conflict do not leave a permanent scar on this generation of Syrians.”

Pearson last year joined forces with Save the Children in a three-year partnership to help improve access to education for children caught up in the Syrian refugee crisis. It committed £1.5m to help develop solutions for delivering education in emergencies, exploring teacher training, and digital solutions in 2016, while supporting a programme in Jordan and two education centres in Amman.