COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in our world. While this virus does not differentiate between nationalities, religions or cultures, it is most adversely impacting those who are already marginalized due to lockdown restrictions and its aftermath. As restrictions are lifted in countries, children will be trafficked, forced out of school and into labour, bearing the burden of sustaining their families. With more than 90% of the world’s student population out of school due to school closures (at its peak), child marriage rates are also anticipated to increase. These children are also missing out on school meals. Pre-pandemic, nearly one in every five children worldwide lived on under $2 a day. In June, the World Bank estimated that COVID-19 will push 71 million people into extreme poverty in 2020.
Kailash Satyarthi, Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, India
Karan Khemka, Director, Global Education Companies and Institutions, Singapore & United Kingdom