Despite Hardships, Education Is a Major Concern for Syrian Refugees and their Supporters

Despite Hardships, Education Is a Major Concern for Syrian Refugees and their Supporters

Thousands of Syrian refugees are still displaced from their homes after the fall of Assad’s regime left the country in shambles. Refugee camps across the world struggle to take in the vast quantities of people who are trying to escape the violence tearing apart their lives. Some refugees have been in camps for a year or longer, and the main thing they want to know is when they will be able to get back home and resume their lives.

One of the concerns of Syrian parents living in refugee camps is how they can obtain education for their families. A recent partnership between British teachers and their counterparts in Lebanon and Jordan was created to provide classroom resources to more than a quarter of a million displaced children. There are at least 16 Lebanese schools currently looking for United Kingdom partners for this program. This initiative is a great step in the right direction, but with the next application round not taking place until February of 2014, many students are missing out on valuable time in the classroom. Luckily, there are individuals, such as Syrian-American architect and philanthropist Lina Sergie Attar, who are working to bridge this educational gap.

Attar is the co-founder and president of The Karam Foundation and co-founder of Zeitouna “an educational mentorship program for displaced Syrian children”. In a recent post on Nicholas Kristoff’s New York Times blog, she wrote about her experiences in a 24,000 person refugee camp on the Syrian border. She held an educational mentorship program, with the help of Syrian expatriates, called “Mapping Memory.” Attar had the attendants draw floor plans of their old homes in Syria, which gave them a way to remember what will be waiting for them when they return.

Attar ended each session with these words: “You will return; we all will. But Syria will need you to rebuild then and you cannot rebuild without an education, without staying in school. Maybe you will become architects and rebuild your homes, villages, and towns again.” Her experiences remind us that no matter what the situation, education is a priceless endeavor that cannot be put on the back burner. When they go back, these students will have to reconstruct everything, including their government. What better way to start a new era than with a generation of educated youth? With the help of people like Attar, the dream of reclaiming their homes and creating a better nation will become a reality. To donate money to the Karam Foundation to help displaced Syrian children, click here.

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