UK: Give Syrian children 7 mins to evacuate by funding early warning systems for schools.

UK: Give Syrian children 7 mins to evacuate by funding early warning systems for schools.

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Rola Hallam started this petition to Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Dominic Raab

After years of searching, we now have a plan to protect school children in Syria.

On August 26th, 2013, I was witness to a war crime. I was in northern Syria on a medical mission when a school full of children was aerially bombarded with an incendiary weapon and dozens of severely burnt children came flooding through the doors of the hospital I had helped build.

The school was called Iqra, in the Aleppo countryside and there were 100 children in attendance that day. Many were severely injured. 11 did not survive. It is one of 1,103 schools - an estimated 40% - that have been deliberately destroyed as a brutal tactic to terrorize populations by sending a message to parents that their children will never be safe. Syria is the most dangerous country in the world for children with nearly 30,000 killed since the crisis began.

After 10 years of conflict the Syrian regime knows the world has turned its eyes to other crises. They have been bombing schools with impunity, aided by Russian military support. We must show we are watching.

There is hope. A cutting edge early warning system using artificial intelligence has been developed that will give Syrian schools an average of 7-10 crucial minutes of warning before the bombs land. Those critical minutes will save students and teachers’ lives, giving them a life-saving chance to get to safety. All it costs is £1,300 for an early warning system for one school.

For less than £900,000 — a tiny drop in the bucket of what they spend on other crises — the UK government could protect 890 at-risk Syrian schools right now. Everything is in place to rollout the system, which will also include electricity, internet, safety training and counseling support for kids who have only known a decade of conflict and fear. We can provide hope and save lives. 

Dominic Raab leads the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and has the power to quickly authorize funding for this protection system. Join me in calling on the UK to stand by its pledge to do all they can to protect schools and children in conflict by providing the funding for this program.

World governments have been hopeless at taking action to stop the bombs falling in Syria. If they aren’t going to stop the bombs, at least they can give the kids under them a chance to run for their lives. Ask the UK Foreign Secretary to give Syrian students those 7 minutes to get to safety.

I vowed that day to do all I could to prevent school attacks and protect those children. We finally have a plan that will keep students safe and possibly even deter attacks. Join me and tell the children of Syria, “We have not forgotten you. We care. We are here.”

— Dr. Rola Hallam

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At 150,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!