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January 09, 2018

Adopt-A-Future campaign educates a generation of refugee children

18-year-old South Sudan refugee Esther Nyakong sits in a classroom in Kenya.

When young people are forced to flee, they leave behind more than just their homes – they also lose the ability to go to school. Safe access to a quality education is critical for refugee children to thrive and provides hope for a brighter future.

Despite the fundamental need for education, refugee children face incredible obstacles and barriers to access.

The Adopt-A-Future campaign launched in 2016 by UNA-USA and USA for UNHCR works to prevent a lost generation by giving refugee children the education they need to build a better future.

Lidia Bastianich, Emmy award-winning public television host, best-selling author, restauranteur and former refugee, was named a celebrity champion for the Adopt-A-Future campaign and is now encouraging more Americans to get involved.

“As someone who has personally experienced life as a refugee, I’m honored to become a champion for the right of refugee children to get an education, which provides opportunity and hope,” said Bastianich.

To date, more than 30 UNA-USA Chapters have made a commitment to refugee education by raising $30,000 each. This money will allow UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to build new schools and repair existing facilities. It will also provide children with the uniforms, textbooks and other supplies they need to attend school.

“USA for UNHCR is thankful for this partnership and is thrilled to have Lidia involved to champion the Adopt-A-Future campaign," said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR.  "Americans listen and act as a result of those they know and trust. Lidia’s own experience as a refugee will inspire more Americans to connect with this cause on a deeper level.”  

To kick things off, Bastianich is asking Americans from all 50 states to host fundraising dinners in their homes, schools and places of worship.