Coronavirus: Nobel Prize winners demand more funds to support children during the pandemic

The UN estimated 21 to 24 million children may not return to school after the pandemic. Credit: AP

Words by Kailash Satyarthi - Nobel Laureate and social reformer for children's rights in India

This pandemic has exposed and exacerbated ongoing inequalities and injustices around the world.

Children belonging to the poorest countries and families are suffering the most.

Yet of the £6 trillion of fiscal spending pledged by the G20 to inject into the global economy to ease the economic impact of coronavirus, only 0.13%, not one percentage, not even half a percentage has been allocated, for the marginalised children and their families in the low-income countries.

This is injustice in itself.

Therefore 88 Nobel laureates and world leaders were mobilised to issue a joint statement in the month of May and they demanded a fair share for children, the idea behind it is that 20% of the Covid response fund must be allocated for the most marginalised 20% of children and their families across the world.

And as a follow-up of that, we also convened a summit a fair share summit under the auspices of laureates and leaders for children.

It's a group of Nobel laureates and world leaders that has again demanded that 20% of this money should be allocated.

Young people and the organisations of students from all across the globe also joined in this campaign and in this demand.

And now we are saying that at least £750 billion should be allocated for the marginalised children in the world so that we should not risk turning back the clock.

We cannot take the risk to lose the generation, as I said, and perhaps if this generation is lost, then the consequences would be in other generations to come.

So, this is the fair share demand.

We are very, very concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the most marginalised children of the world.

Now, as well as in the post-pandemic time, we have seen that more than one billion children are blocked out of their schools.

Half of them have no access or very little access to online education.

Credit: AP

One-third of them, or more than one-third of them are facing serious problems since they are not receiving the school meals they were often dependent on.

So the overall impact, according to the United Nations' statistics is that as many as 24 million children may not come back to their classrooms.

Millions of them may fall back into child labour, slavery trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.

So, this is a very serious situation. And if we don't act now, we risk losing the entire regeneration that humanity cannot and must not afford.