Syria Aid Distribution December 2014
While in Reyhanli, Southern Turkey, Human Appeal volunteers went to visit the International School there which cares for some of the many displaced Syrian children seeking refuge in the city. The children’s irrepressible spirit was striking, particularly as many are orphans. But the key issue of the school’s lack of secure funding was also foremost in our minds.
The school, managed by Anas al Hassan, himself a displaced Syrian, aims to meet a multiplicity of needs. As in a normal school, the children attend classes where they learn subjects such as Turkish, Maths, Science and English. However, they and their families are also provided with basics such as food and clothing. Many of the children have lost one of their parents, but there are those who have lost both parents and have to board in the school which has become a replacement home for them.
The atmosphere in this school-home is a testament to Anas and his team: despite the terrible sufferings and displacement from the war, the children are cheerful and clearly well cared for.
We got the chance to talk to quite a few of the children, including Amani (pictured above), who is 10.
From across the border in Syria, Amani now lives in Reyhanli with her mother and two younger brothers, Ibrahim and Hamed. She lost her father to the war in Syria, but still seems to embody the hope and resilience of youth. The school does it’s very best to restore a form of normality to the lives of the children, and Amani, thankfully, demonstrates that it is succeeding. When we asked her, with her teacher Gandi acting as translator, what she liked most about school, she answered with all the innocence of youth: ‘I like the teachers, especially Gandi!’
The school is in fact very lucky to have teachers such as Gandi, but with no outside financial supports, it may not be able to continue with its vital good work for much longer. Accommodation is cramped, sanitation facilities are much overstretched, and there is a severe shortage of the basic educational equipment.
The school is working with the Turkish education authorities to gain official recognition, but in the meantime focuses on its essential work of providing for the children and their families. At a cost of €450 per child per year to cover everything from utilities, rent, food, equipment and teachers pay, the school’s future is in doubt from month to month, and with it its prospects of continuing to provide a secure, caring environment for its children.
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