31 Dec 2012
"I feel stressed and easily alarmed. I’m having trouble studying and understanding my lessons”, complained 15-year-old Alaa. She is one of the thousands of young students, including Palestine refugee children, whose studying has been disrupted due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
13-year-old Ahmad fled with his family to the Mezzeh neighbourhood in Damascus seeking refuge at his aunt’s home, and now studies at al-Magdal Boys’ School. “I hope the situation will improve so that I can study and eventually return to Daraya. I am concerned about the safety of my parents, relatives, and friends.”
Alaa and Ahmad are two of more than 63,000 students in Syria attending one of UNRWA’s 118 double-shift schools that offer basic elementary and preparatory education. Thousands of these students and their families have taken shelter in a number of UNRWA school buildings as the hostility around them increases. Many of the children face academic and psychological challenges as they are learning to cope with the new situation.
Creating alternatives for students
15-year-old Ranim, for example, prioritized her studies even while fleeing. “My books were the first things I took with me when I left my home. Third grade is a little hard and I have to study well before final exams in June.”
To help students like Ranim who are facing obstacles to education and normal life in Syria, UNRWA’s education programme is developing a set of educational materials that will allow children in the country to study from home. This will include home study materials and lessons on CDs for viewing on video among other alternative materials.
Students helping those in need
For 13-year-old Mohammad, the psychological impact of the violence makes it extremely difficult to focus on his studies. “I always feel scared. The ongoing tension is making us edgy and makes it difficult to pay attention and catch up on our lessons.” Despite these obstacles, Mohammad is assisting his cousins who have fled the violence and is staying with them. “We are hosting my uncle and his family at our house in Qudsaya. I lent my geography and history books to one of my cousins who missed a number of lessons because of the situation”, he added.
UNRWA brings comfort to refugees
Many refugees flee with the clothes on their back and are unable to collect their belongings. For those refugees who have sought shelter at UNRWA schools, the Agency is doing its best to assist them by providing food parcels, distributing blankets, mattresses andwater. Currently, there are nearly 5,701 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA facilities across the country.
Help students like Alaa and Ahmad pick up the pieces by supporting UNRWA‘s emergency work in Syria here.