Syria, Idlib. “I experienced indescribable feelings of fear and hopelessness,” said Ala*. Now 15, she and her family fled to Idlib in 2016. She was in the fifth grade then.
In Idlib, she re-enrolled in school but could not catch up with her peers.
Her experience is not uncommon. Limited access to education magnifies challenges during displacement. It limits the potential of displaced children to rebuild their lives, protect themselves against abuse and take the lead in their communities.
In 2020, Ala and her family returned to their original town. Multiple displacements in Syria’s fragile context affected Ala physically and psychologically.
“I lost another academic year in the eighth grade because of many challenges after returning to Halfaya,” she said. The family could hardly secure their basic needs. “I lost hope of continuing my education, and I was certain I would not pass the 9th-grade exam,” added Ala .
Ala joined a non-formal education programme run by Finn Church Aid and supported by the Syria Humanitarian Fund. The project has supported over 2,400 children to access non-formal education.
The programme rehabilitated schools, trained teachers and rolled out remedial classes to help students catch up. There are recreation activities to support the kids’ mental health.
“I did not think that I would finish the curriculum, especially because I had a late start, but with great encouragement from the teachers, hope has returned to me,” said Ala .
Finn Church Aid field staff followed up on the results of exams. The success rate among the students enrolled in the remedial classes was close to 80 per cent including Ala. “I could never have imagined that I would be able to catch up with my peers and pass the exam. The feeling of success is incredible. I hope I will never face the challenge of education loss. I am planning to study Arabic literature when I finish high school.”
“We needed this support because we could not afford the cost of private courses or hiring a tutor. The free remedial classes were a … great opportunity to bridge the gaps in loss of education, affecting all aspects of a student’s education and their self-confidence, motivation, and interest in learning,” said Salma’s father.
Names have been changed.
More information on the Syria Humanitarian Fund:
OCHA – POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB – By Country (unocha.org) https://pfdata.unocha.org/