Wednesday January 8, 2020

After eight years of brutal conflict in Syria, millions of men, women and children have been forced to flee their home and seek refuge abroad. Across the Middle East and North Africa alone, a staggering seven million Syrians are now registered as refugees.

A mere 332 miles away in neighbouring Jordan, over 650,000 Syrian refugees have sought safety hoping for a more stable future. Of course, Jordan is no stranger to hosting families who’ve fled violence and conflict. It’s the sixth biggest refugee-hosting country in the world, with a refugee population of over two million refugees, primarily from Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

However, 90% of these refugees are struggling to survive, classed by the World Bank and UNHCR as either poor or on the brink of poverty. What’s more, around 1 in 5 still live in camps where conditions are extremely poor.

For refugee children, the future remains uncertain. These children remain incredibly vulnerable and are unable to enjoy a safe, stable childhood. With long-term disruption to their daily lives, ongoing poverty and displacement, their development – including their education – has suffered greatly. In fact, across Jordan, more than 80,000 Syrian children are out of school because they are engaging in child labour, are unable to reach the local school or simply because their families cannot afford to send them to school.

As a section of Syrian children has never even been to school, they are left illiterate as they simply didn’t have the chance to acquire basic reading skills that we take for granted. Without the means to gain an education, their futures are slipping away. At risk of early/forced marriage and child labour, those who in fact do attend school face overcrowded classrooms with demand high and facilities lacking.

Bringing school to you: Meet Hanaa!

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Hanaa and the Islamic Relief mobile education bus in Jordan, providing education for hundreds of children in need

Hanaa* is like many Syrian refugee children. Fleeing the brutal conflict four years ago, Hanaa and her family sought refuge in Jordan. However, things still aren’t easy. Hanaa’s father is unemployed due to ill health and the family are suffering:

My eldest two kids work on farms during the summer season. They’d never worked before; they used to go to school and live a normal life, like any other child… We rely on what my children get from their work. They earn a bit of money, but it barely helps us to cover our basic needs. We are a big family consisting of nine living far away from jobs, markets and even schools. (Hanaa’s mother)

With the family struggling financially and living far from the school, Hanaa is unable to go to the local school. Without the means to access an education, here future remains uncertain. However, this is where we come in!

Here at Islamic Relief, we believe that no child should be prevented from gaining an education, so that’s why we introduced our mobile educational bus. A simple yet indigenous idea, the fully-equipped classroom on the bus offers free courses in key subjects such as Maths, Arabic and English, providing inclusive educational support for around 500 refugee and Jordanian children in rural areas, including children living with disabilities.

As well as providing crucial resources, we’ve also strengthened the capacity of 20 teachers to support children’s ability to learn new skills, including children with disabilities. Alhamdulillah!

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English language classes inside the mobile classroom!

Thanks to this specialised bus, Hanaa and many more children like her are now able to attend school and continue their education. Of course, both Hanaa and her mother couldn’t be happier:

My children are excited to attend the classes inside the bus. They wake up full of excitement and sit outside the house waiting for the school bus to arrive. Our children have been receiving classes from Islamic Relief for three months and I believe that nothing is better than education. What you have done for them is amazing, thank you!

Jazak Allah khairan! Your generous support is helping hundreds of children like Hanaa in Jordan to go back to school. You are critically offering them hope for the future.

However, there are millions more children in need of your support. Help them go to school – help us transform their lives.

Save a life, donate to Islamic Relief.

*Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity

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