With one in three schools in Syria either completely destroyed or damaged, renovating them is vital for the continuity of education.
Many children out of school
Now in its 12th year, the Syria conflict has taken a devastating toll on education. 2.4 million children remain out of school and one in three schools can no longer be used. For those who are able to continue their education, they end up learning in overcrowded classrooms in schools that lack basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and ventilation.
With humanitarian funding from the European Union, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) works to support crisis-affected students and schools in Syria with rehabilitation of schools to ensure students return to safe and accessible schools that have proper educational environments.
In the case of the Waleed Al-Najjar’s school in Homs, the school was found lacking in even the most basic infrastructure. Without windows, doors, water outlets and bathrooms, the school remained closed, and students were forced to walk longer distances to schools in other neighbourhoods.
Mariam, Yumen, Farah and Raghad are four friends who were among the students making their way to a school that is far away from their homes.
The trip was too difficult and risky for us as students. It was hard to walk all this distance, every day.
Schools is ready to open
To help the four friends and those who live in their area, and in coordination with the Ministry of Education, DRC supported the rehabilitation of the school and provided the equipment needed to ensure the continuity of education.
“My house overlooks the school. I have been watching you every day, hoping that you will finish as soon as possible so we can go back to it,” said Mariam.
Today, the school is finally ready to open its doors to thousands of students.
“Everything is great. The benches, classrooms, washing facilities and the children zone – they all make our school better and help us to get a proper education in a lovely and safe environment,” said Farah excitedly.
Girls go back to school
Sanaa Mhedli school in Homs has seen better days as the conflict in the area had left the school damaged and made the lives of the 1,300 female students attending the school harder.
“As the principal of the school, I met with a large number of female students who had no access to facilities like bathrooms and benches,” said Sanaa Ibrahim, the school’s principal.
Good hygiene in the schools
To ensure students can learn in a healthy environment that meets their needs, DRC supported the rehabilitation of washrooms in the school, provided benches for the students and improved access to child-friendly facilities.
“We now have enough bathrooms for the number of students. This will much improve the hygiene conditions. The benches will also help the children be comfortable as they learn,” said Sanaa with a smile.