Your donations and our fundraisers are all supporting a very worthwhile charity, Unicef. Here is just one example of where your money and hard work goes to.
“I love my new school bag,” says Dania*, a fourth grade student at Abdurrahmaan Khazen elementary school in Damascus. As part of a UNICEF back-to-learning campaign, Dania and 1,500 other students in her school received their school materials for this year.
|© UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2014/Rashidi|
|Third grade students happily display their new bags at a school in central Damascus. With the support of the EU, UNICEF is providing education supplies to more than a million Syrian children.|
As Dania leaves school, her mother is waiting for her by the main gate. She enthusiastically shows her mother the new bag and what is inside. “When you have one kid, it might be affordable, but if you have two or three, it is really a hard burden these days to provide all of them with school supplies,” Dania’s mother says.
On 14 September, the school year commenced in the Syrian Arab Republic with more than 1.5 million children unable to join classrooms as a result of the crisis. Coinciding with this start, a nationwide effort has been rolled out by UNICEF to distribute school supplies, an initiative supported by the European Union, the US fund for UNICEF, the governments of Canada and Japan, and Ikea. School bags, notebooks and stationary items are now on their way to more than a million Syrian students across the county.
Easing the burden
On the first day of the school year, Oum Ahmad, a mother of four, walked along with her neighbour Dania’s mother to pick up her daughter from school. “We left our house in Yarmouk camp last year with nothing to carry apart from the clothes we were wearing,” Oum Ahmad says. “My girls missed out on final exams. Thank god my youngest daughter, Israa, succeeded in the evaluation test early this year, and now she is enrolled in the eighth grade. My elder daughter Lamia dropped out. She now takes care of the house while I go to work at a sewing workshop.”
This year, the Ministry of Education introduced new procedures for enrolment and attendance to ease the burden on parents. “We accept what is available with children for school uniforms, and we will not insist on a lot of stationary supplies as a mandatory requirement. In addition, children from families of internally displaced persons who don’t have valid official papers for proper identification will simply need to write an evaluation test at the nearest school, which will serve as the criteria for admission,” says ministry representative Rana.
Abu Eyad, a father of two boys from Aleppo, came to the principal’s office asking for registration forms. “We just moved to this area. I was in Jaramana for the past year after fleeing Aleppo last year,” Abu Eyad says. After negotiations with the principal regarding space and availability of places, his boys are registered in the school.
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