UNICEF is working with education authorities in Libya to help get schools re-opened this month, despite unrest in the country.

Ten-year-old Hesham has been unable to attend his school in central Benghazi due to the uprising in mid-February. The majority of schools have been closed across Libya since the first days of the conflict, affecting the lives of an estimated two million children.

"I can’t wait to see my friends and start school again," said Hesham. "I am happy about the revolution but I want things to go back to normal soon."

The presence of landmines and abandoned munitions continue to pose a serious threat to civilians - particularly children. We are working closely with our local partners to assess damage to schools and ensure they are safe and cleared of any explosive remnants of war.

The in-country fighting has forced thousands of families to flee their homes to other parts of the country in search of safety. Many families have taken refuge in school buildings. In some schools, UNICEF-supported children's clubs have opened to provide areas for children to play and mix with other young people.

Hesham is among the lucky ones going back to school at the end of September, but this will not be the story for many more young Libyans whose lives have been shattered by the fighting on the ground.

"Children’s lives have been severely disrupted in Libya," explains Christian Balslev-Olesen, Head of UNICEF Libya Response Team.

"Schools will bring a sense of normality and a routine, helping children and their families navigate through this difficult time."

 
A teacher stands in a classroom at a primary school in Benghazi, Libya. The school has been closed since February. He and other community members are working with authorities to hold recreational activities for local children. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0965/Marta Ramoneda
A teacher stands in a classroom at a primary school in Benghazi, Libya. The school has been closed since February. He and other community members are working with authorities to hold recreational activities for local children.© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0965/Marta Ramoneda