Temporary Education Centers for Syrians under Temporary Protection
Education is one of the most important pillars for the growth of children. Ensuring access to education for all children is important, and even more so when the youngsters in question are refugees. Over half of Turkey’s 2.7 million Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. Syrian children in Turkey can enroll in Turkish state schools, however many – especially older – cannot due to lack of proficiency in Turkish. Temporary Education Centres, which are recognized by the Ministry of National Education, provide education to Syrian children.
In September 2015, Save the Children started a project named “No Lost Generation” with Hatay Governorate and Hatay Directorate of National Education’s permission. At the beginning of the project Save the Children was supporting 4 schools, by the end of the project 12 months later, Save the Children was supporting 53 schools, and had impacted the lives of 15,000 children.
I think the numbers are less important, and the essence of humanitarian aid for me is if everyone makes an effort to contribute in their area, and continue to add value to each other, then hope is never lost. I guess that is the most important issue for the refugees; they should never lose hope.
Education presents costs for families, many of whom cannot afford. Their children need school items, stationary, transportation fees, school uniforms, and so on. When Save the Children realised this, they collaborated with Turkish authorities and helped children and their families to reduce these costs by providing education materials kits, hygiene kits, arts and crafts kits. Children’s psychology is adversely effected by the conflict and the subsequent displacement. Providing a warm atmosphere and arts and craft kits help the children cope with their trauma. Imagine a child who had to escape his/her home by running away. While she/he was running for survival, separation from family and loved ones happens too frequently. She/he may have even witnessed death. Some of them were lucky because they didn’t lose any family members, and just walked and walked for days until they reach Turkish border. Arrival in Turkey marks the beginning of a whole new set of challenges. Being in a new place, with a new language, uncertain of who to trust; these are all faced by Syrians who make it to Turkey.
There is a child in the war, who has a dream
I have seen drawings made by children who have fled from Syria. Their pictured affected me deeply. Let me give a few examples. In one drawing there was a military tank and a child swinging from a swing on the tank’s cannon. There were injured people, dead people, buildings damaged by warplanes, bombs, and lots of red – possibly to depict blood – lake (or pond) in another drawing. I questioned the world that I live in. I was deeply affected, so much so that I blamed myself as if I were responsible, although it is nonsense and I know it, but I was very much upset by this situation.
Sadness always takes part in our lives, but on the other hand there are people try to help the lives of others. Save the Children was founded in 1919 as a non-governmental organization to give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. I love that their focus never changed and continues today. According to last year’s report they worked in 120 countries and helped more than 185 million children to date.
Antakya, Turkey, 2016