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Turkey: A school for refugee children from Syria

Help to live and grow for children on the run

Only around a third of the Syrian refugee children in Turkey are able to go to school. Photo: Malteser International

Malteser International supports 700 school children aged between four and 17 at a school in Istanbul. Photo: Malteser International

The Syrian Civil War has been raging since March 2011, and has forced millions of Syrians to flee their country to seek safety in Europe or neighboring Middle Eastern countries. Turkey alone is home to around 2.75 million Syrian refugees. According to UN estimates, almost 900,000 of these are school aged-children. A lack of information, language barriers, and the precarious economic situation of the Syrian refugees in Turkey mean that only around one third of these children can go to school. This problem is especially pronounced amongst the urban refugees living in major cities such as Istanbul, Gaziantep, or Hatay. The sheer scale of the population displacement caused by the Syrian Civil War, and the high number of children amongst the refugees, has triggered an education crisis across the Middle East. The level of need is immense.

Malteser International is working to give 700 school children aged between four and 17 the chance of a better future by providing them access to education in cooperation with its Syrian partner organization The Orient Face. This project also finances school materials for the children as well as a bus to take them to school, which is staffed by 31 qualified teachers from Syria, who have received special training in providing psychosocial support for children. Many of the school’s pupils continue to suffer from psychological stress as a result of their traumatic experience. Summer activities are also organized during the holidays in order to give the children access to cultural activities during their free time. The parents of children at the school can also participate in information events on the topic of children’s rights and the rights of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Seventy-five of the school’s pupils graduated in the last year, and 45 of them will continue their studies at Turkish universities – our congratulations go to each and every one of them!

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Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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