Makeshift school gives displaced Syrians a chance at education



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012

Last update 18 December 2012 9:31 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

In a Turkish town across the border from Syria, a few dozen exiled schoolteachers have established a makeshift school for children displaced by their native country’s brutal civil war.
The school, on the ground floor of a three-story building in southwest Kilis, lacks all but the most basic of supplies while all the teachers work for no pay in cramped classrooms where five children often squeeze into desks made for three.
And teachers and administrators note that many of the students appear to be suffering from psychological problems that they have no training in how to address.
But for the students who were missing months of education as a result of battles between Syrian government forces and rebels in cities like Aleppo in the country’s north, the opening of the school three weeks ago was a welcome sight.
“I was happier at my old school in Syria, more than this one,” 13-year-old Hossam Hassanatu, who grew up near Aleppo, admitted. “But I am happy that this school opened.”
“I was away from school for six months — I was doing nothing, just waiting, and playing on the street.”
Students like Hossam attend either a morning or afternoon session, mostly learning Arabic, English, mathematics and science — during school hours, the lone hallway echoes with the sounds of children screaming the Arabic or English alphabet in unison.
The idea for the school was hatched when a group of Syrian teachers met soon after fleeing their homeland for Turkey in the summer.
They decided they wanted to establish a school for children whose families had made similar decisions, and submitted a request to the local Turkish government.
Classrooms finally opened to students on Nov. 26.
Now, between 1,100 and 1,200 students between the ages of seven and 13 attend on a daily basis, but several children join on a near-daily basis, their families having fled Syria, according to school supervisor Fuad Al-Sheikh Sana, one of the original founders.
They are part of countless families who have found private accommodation in border towns like Kilis, rather than going to refugee camps.
The United Nations refugee agency said on Dec. 11 that more than 500,000 Syrians had registered as refugees in neighboring countries and north Africa since the beginning of the country’s uprising in March 2011.
It added that many more had not come forward to seek help.
Sana said that while the Turkish government and local organizations had been generous with their donations of the building and basic supplies, much was still needed.
“The school needs some financial support, especially some means of transportation, because it is very far,” he said. “We also need financial support for the teachers, because they are all volunteers.”
Sana added: “Every day in Syria, you hear bombings and explosions. The students develop psychological problems because of that.”
He said regional organizations had offered to provide counselling, but no agreements had yet been struck.
Rabaa Al-Barri, one of the English teachers, gave the example of a young boy in her class who refused to speak or respond to her prompting, which she attributed to being one of the impacts of the Syrian conflict.
“Some of them are ok, but others are in bad condition,” she said.
And lacking supplies like textbooks, teachers also struggle with older students who, unlike their younger counterparts, cannot simply shout back lessons they are being taught.
“English without textbooks — how can we teach the students?” she said. “What about higher classes?“
Barri added: “From the beginning, we faced difficulties.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: In a fresh boost for relations between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, the Kingdom has decided to sign a memorandum of understanding on Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) with Dhaka. The Kingdom endorsed a proposal in this regard at a meeting be...
The Indonesian mission is hopeful detained Indonesian pilgrims will be free “very soon.” The mission is trying to persuade Saudi authorities of their nationals’ innocence.Eleven Indonesian pilgrims, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah to perform U...
JEDDAH: Police at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh arrested a Saudi hacker after a government organization in Al-Leith in Makkah complained that he had hacked its website, according to an online newspaper.Col. Atti Al-Qurashi, spokesman fo...
JEDDAH: The special criminal court has sentenced a former military official to nine years in jail for joining Daesh and traveling to Syria to fight.A fine of SR5,000 was also slapped on him and he was barred from traveling abroad for nine years after...
JEDDAH: Saudi-Indian ties have reached a new high with the arrival of an Indian Air Force (IAF) flying contingent at the King Fahd Air Base in Taif.The mission, comprising more than 100 high-ranking IAF officers and airmen onboard Sukhoi MKI fighter...
RIYADH: A tripartite agreement among the National Handicraft Program, Prisons Department and the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. (TVTC) was recently signed in the presence of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tou...
JEDDAH: British authorities have opened investigations into the plane crash that led to the death of three members of the Binladin family.Investigations depend on the black box which registers the entire plane’s data, including speed, position of mob...
JAZAN: In a tragic accident, a speeding fuel truck caused four deaths and injuries to many people when it collided head on with five cars on the northern entrance of Abu Areesh area of Jazan, according to a website.The truck deviated from its path an...
JEDDAH: Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh has directed all the municipal authorities to closely scrutinize the election candidates’ credentials to thwart violation of rules.This is to ensure that the candidates meet all the...
Mohammed Mokammel Hossain, labor consul, Bangladesh Consulate, Jeddah * Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.* Can you tell us your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Insha’Allah. * W...
RIYADH: Expatriates feel Saudi Arabia is a safer place than their home countries despite the fact that the Kingdom is leading a war against the Yemeni rebels and other terror organizations and a couple of suicide attacks in the recent past. Mahmoud T...
RIYADH: The maximum medical policy or contract for visitors is SR100,000, which covers expenses on emergency treatment, maternity charges, traffic accident injuries, dialysis and medical treatment in or outside the Kingdom. Making the above announce...
JEDDAH: The city and its surrounding areas sweltered on Monday, with the maximum temperature rising to 44 degree Celsius and relative humidity being recorded at 85 percent. The weather department has forecast a similar situation in Jeddah on Tuesday....
JEDDAH: A National Academy for Energy in Dammam and a private technical technical college, both exclusively for women, will be opened in the Easter Province.The General Organization of Technical and Vocational Training is in the process of implementi...
AL-AHSA: Masjid Joatha or Joatha Mosque is a center of attraction in Al-Ahsa with many visitors and tourists thronging the place of worship, which was believed to have been built in the seventh year of Hijri (629 AD).The mosque has been restored as p...

Stay Connected

Facebook