Yasmine is only 9 years old, but has lost so much in her life – her father, her home, and the sight in one eye. Born in the Syrian city of Homs, she has lived through war, and has been on the run for most of her young life. She was seven years old when she survived a bombing that killed her father. Along with her mother and two brothers, she fled to neighboring Turkey.
She now lives under difficult conditions in Istanbul with her family. For almost a year, however, she has received lessons at a temporary school for Syrian refugee children, and is being prepared for entry into a public school in Turkey. After only a short period of time, Yasmine showed impressive academic talent, and was able to catch up on all the school topics she had missed due to the years of war in her home country. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and in partnership with a local organization, Malteser International supports this educational center. In addition to regular subjects, Yasmine also learns Turkish to ease her transition into a Turkish public school next term.
Many Syrian children are in the same situation as Yasmine. Before the outbreak of the war six years ago, 99% percent of children in Syria attended primary school, earning the country a status of near universal educational participation. However, the school system has since then collapsed, especially in the northern part of the country, and we are seeing the emergence of a whole generation of children who have never attended school. Without sufficient education, the next generation will not be equipped with the knowledge and skills to find a place in the labour market and re-build Syria when the war ends.
There are currently 2.9 million registered
Syrian refugees living in Turkey. More than half of them are children.
To ease integration into the Turkish school system, Malteser International runs the temporary educational center in partnership with the Syrian NGO “The Orient Face”. Over 690 children will attend school classes here till the summer of 2017, after which they will be integrated into a newly opened Turkish school for the upcoming academic year.
This aid enables children to secure their future by learning a profession or even going on to study, while coping as refugees in a foreign country. There are still no signs of an end to the conflict in Syria, so for millions of people, the prospects of a quick return to their home country lie in the distant future.