Syrian Al Rahma Education Center in Uskudar, Istanbul is a private school in Turkey providing education to the children of displaced Syrians living in Istanbul. The facility is currently serving 250 students in total in two separate sessions (elementary grades in the morning session, and middle and high school students in the afternoon session). By providing education in two shifts for two groups of students a day (morning and afternoon), a total of 250 students can be instructed daily.
The budget for this project is $100,000. This budget will cover the costs of the institution for one school year (including the salaries). During this inaugural year, Embrace Relief in collaboration with its sister organization Kimse Yok Mu in Turkey will monitor the educational progress of the school to ensure the expectation of quality is being met as well as to promote accountability and transparency within our organization.
After the start of the civil war in Syria, a vast influx of refugees entered Turkey. In the beginning, the funding for aid operations were covered by Kimse Yok Mu and donor partners and were adequate to meet the needs of the first wave of refugees, however, the overwhelming number of people (currently estimated at 2.1 million) who have fled Syria and Iraq into Turkey, has diminished available funds faster than anticipated. The vast majority of refugees who are living in Turkey are unable to fully benefit from current aid initiatives; falling victim to dangerous job opportunities and have little to no access to legal representation.
One of the most overlooked basic needs of Syrian refugees is their right for education. While some of the children are fortunate enough to enroll in a small number of schools opened by both the state and local aid organizations/individuals, the vast majority of children are not able to access even primary level schooling. In contrast, there are many unemployed Syrian teachers who are qualified and more than willing to educate. The gap between supply and demand of education, due to insufficient funds, is a severe problem that will result in major socioeconomic and educational discrepancies in the near future.
If knowledge cannot be transferred from the current population to the next generation, then the human capital, required to rebuild Syria in the aftermath of the civil war, will not develop. Consequently, the conflict in and around the country would significantly be prolonged. The uneducated generation will be highly susceptible to be taken advantage of by radical groups. The refugees who choose to remain in a number of neighboring countries will face a number of serious challenges as well. Their job opportunities will continue to be highly restricted, and they will constantly face language barriers, which will prevent them from using even the most basic services of the country. The negative perception about these refugees due to their low level of education will also result in increased racism and xenophobic conflicts between them and the host countries’ citizens.
Moreover, the difficulties for any late attempts to boost education services would be increased since the teachers who are currently academically qualified would have retired, changed occupations or left the workforce altogether due to illness or death. Because of this, substantial efforts to provide access to education for the current Syrian refugees in Turkey and beyond need to be taken immediately.
The education of refugee children provided in host countries, specifically for females, is especially important for their wellbeing and survival. There are several significant reasons for this fact. One: children at the primary education level can get an early head start to developing literacy and analytical skills, along with an early introduction to the language of their host country. Two: teaching the primary level curriculum becomes harder as the age of the child increases into adulthood. And three: the education of female refugees requires special attention because of the myriad of challenges faced by them. Women are significantly more susceptible to become victims of human trafficking, organ trafficking, and physical and sexual violence. Female refugees, because of the cultural practices that they come from, in addition to language barriers, have fewer or no way to state their problems and be represented. Female refugees have fewer means to earn income, are less likely to be employed, and when they are able to get a job they have a higher risk of being abused and taken advantage of in the workplace. Furthermore, female children are also at a higher risk for becoming a child bride.
In a world where the number of refugees has reached a record sixty million people with no indication of a decline, finding a solution to providing opportunities to those who desperately need one — is one of the biggest and most meaningful challenges of our time. By focusing on these two groups of vulnerable people, our organization seeks to minimize the additional challenges faced by them caused by the lack of access to education.
Our project aims to support the education of Syrian primary schoolers and female students. By doing so we aspire to:
– Give children the opportunity fulfill their potential,
– Significantly reduce their risk of being manipulated by radical and terrorist groups,
– Reduce the tensions between refugees and local citizens by creating a qualified workforce,
– Prevent the abuse of women and children by harsh conditions of the informal employment market,
– Contribute to the rehabilitation of both students and teachers from tragic experiences they lived through by providing them a sense of normalcy and job security,
– Provide income to teachers, and provide an environment where they can utilize their abilities and educate the children.
While it is a medium-term solution, boosting education and providing schooling will give refugees the necessary tools for finding future opportunities and rebuilding their lives after the conflict is over. It is economically feasible, but more importantly a humane project. The overall results will mitigate the damage caused by educational deficits, and decrease the security risks posed by refugees facing the difficult realities of refugee camps and feeling compelled to make dangerous choices.
School for Syrian Children
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