Poor Syrian children seek education as salvation from plight
Hiba Moussa, a Syrian schoolgirl in a family of seven living in an unfinished, dim apartment just outside the capital city, often has to do her homework in the morning, as electricity is cut off in the poor neighborhood for the most of the night.
“I want to continue my education so that when I grow up I will be able to support my parents and make our situation better than now,” said the 14-year-old girl in the sixth grade.
Eight years ago when Syria was at war, her family fled from the ravaged Manbij city in Aleppo Province to seek a new life in Jaramana, a city three km southeast of Damascus.
They rented the roughcast house and split the space to make a bedroom and a living room, where the children study, play and sleep. Muhammad Moussa, the father, managed to find a job as a porter.
“I’m doing my best to provide for my children so that they can be good at school and have a better future,” he told Xinhua.
The unfinished stairs outside led Muhammad into his wallpapered apartment, where cushions and blankets are the only furnishings in both rooms which have no couches, chairs or beds.
Hiba was helping her younger siblings with their homework. During leisure hours, they would roleplay for fun, and she usually picks a teacher character.
As the older child, Hiba is treated as the family’s biggest hope. The parents said their daughter not only performs well at school but is willing to help take care of their other four children.
She is not the only child in the family who loves to go to school.
“I skipped two years because of the war. And (at that time) I cried a lot because I couldn’t go to school. That’s when my parents decided to leave and come here to enroll me in the school,” her younger brother, 13-year-old Abdul-Karim, told Xinhua.
Hiba said their parents are illiterate, and all she could think of is to continue her education, seeing the school and books as the only hope for her and her siblings to get out of their plight.
“My dream is to travel and go to college and have a good job,” Hiba said, as she lamented her inablity to take English lessons due to her family’s financial woes.
Abdul-Karim and his younger sister Reham said they want to become a doctor to help their family and the other people, almost the wish of all the Syrian poor children who see suffering at a very young age, which pushes them to think of a future where they could extend help.
Abdul-Karim also helped at a carpenter workshop in the past two months to earn money for his family and save some for English lessons.
“I started working a couple of months ago because I am annoyed by having no money and my inability to learn a new language,” he said.
Reham, 11, said all she wants for the moment is to continue her education and to learn needlework to make money and help the family.
“Education changes our lives for the better so that when we grow up we could have higher degrees to help our parents … I would love to have more money and a better house and to end this bad situation,” she said.
According to UNICEF, the crisis in Syria has taken a devastating toll on education, leaving more than 7,000 schools damaged or destroyed and about 2 million children out of school.
In March, UNICEF Syria Representative Bo Viktor Nylund said 5 million children who have been born since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011 “have known nothing but war and conflict. In many parts of Syria, they continue to live in fear of violence, landmines, and explosive remnants of war.”
Source: Global Times
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