Inside a School for Syrian Refugees

The goal is to provide education for children who had it taken away

Inside a School for Syrian Refugees Inside a School for Syrian Refugees
More than 700,000 children have fled Syria to Turkey. More than 400,000 of them are unable to attend school due to the language barrier,... Inside a School for Syrian Refugees

More than 700,000 children have fled Syria to Turkey. More than 400,000 of them are unable to attend school due to the language barrier, integration issues and financial challenges.

“We came [to Turkey] because of the bombings and the chemical weapons,” ninth-grade student Abdullah Khatib said.

At the Akram Chatin School, refugees worked with the Turkish government to create a learning environment for Syrian children. The school is small — only 1,500 students and 50 teachers — and it’s unclear whether Turkish institutions will recognize their academic credentials.

But at the least, the school provides some stability for students who lived through traumatic experiences. “We don’t teach or talk about the revolution,” headmaster Abdul Hamadi said. “But in general, we try to guide the students away from war and news of bloody massacres in order to better facilitate the learning process.”

It’s common for the refugees to experience anxiety, worry and phobia. These are “the primary [psychological] problems facing the students,” Hamadi said. “It’s common to see students get scared when they hear a door suddenly close. They get a flashback of the sound of all the bombings.”

More than anything, the students need an end to the war, according to teacher Hassan Balkesh. “These issues will continue until the war ends and the students have some stability again,” Balkesh said.

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