Media CenterCRS Commends Congress for Passing Bill that Ensures Education for Refugee Children

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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(443) 955- 7125


BALTIMORE, MD, December 21, 2018 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) praises Congress for passing the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, which make it the policy of the United States to work with governments, faith-based groups and other actors to meet educational needs of millions of displaced children globally, especially the needs of school-aged girls.  The bill also focuses U.S. assistance on building the capacity of host country educational systems to include refugee children, who are often prevented from accessing schooling. 

“More than four million refugee children do not have access to an education,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for Government Relations and Advocacy. “Though they have been uprooted, thy need education to become productive members of society or help rebuild their troubled nations. Education should be a priority. An educated child is less vulnerable, and more apt to succeed.”

The bi-partisan effort, which was led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) will encourage the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to work with partner governments to increase access to education, especially for displaced girls. 

“Receiving only two percent of humanitarian aid, refugee education is vastly under-prioritized,” O’Keefe said. “CRS’ own investments in refugee education for Syrian and South Sudanese refugees are wise and necessary humanitarian assistance, and we are grateful for Congress’ leadership in advancing this important issue.”

“If we fail to educate these children of war, we will be culpable for a lost generation.”  


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Tags: Refugees
Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
December 21, 2018

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More