Reaching to school must not be a matter for children of Syria

@UNICEF/Turkey-2015/Ciftci

@UNICEF/Turkey-2015/Ciftci

“I am satisfied with the school bus. I have nothing to worry about now,” says Kamal. This 6-year-old Syrian boy from Aleppo now lives in Sanliurfa. “I would like to be a pilot when I grow up. Because it’s very nice to fly” he adds.

Going to school by bus or car might look trivial for many children in the world. For those children who have had to flee their homes and learn to live in a big city in another country, things are quite different. Kamal is one of those children.

Kamal started school this year. His father, an electrician, wants his children to be able to go to school in a comfortable environment. This is why they came to Turkey. Kamal says, “Turkey is better than Syria. I don’t miss Syria because I wasn’t able to go anywhere there. I love my uncles and I miss them so much.”

Transport is a big issue for Syrian children struggling to continue their education in Turkey. Most of them live in the suburbs of the big cities and their families do not have enough money to pay for transport.

With the financial support of European Commission – Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO), UNICEF is working withInternational Organization for Migration (IOM) in order to support Syrian children living outside camps in Sanliurfa by transporting them to schools. UNICEF’s contribution has enabled 1,960 students to get to school by bus as of May 2015. There are currently 40 busses available to transport Syrian children from home to school and from school to home.

Yazen, 13, lives and studies in Sanliurfa like Kamal. He came to Şanlıurfa from Deir ez-Zor two years ago. He loves science classes. He likes his school and is pleased with the education he is getting. “School transport is so useful and there is no delay,” he says with shining eyes, “It is just perfect!”

UNICEF and its partners are providing Syrian children access to quality education and protection to bring back normalcy into their life, and allow them to learn in a safe environment.

Today Turkey hosts over 1.7 million Syrians living in Turkey, who have fled the conflict in their country. Around 85% of them are living in the host communities and the rest in camps. There are over 600,000 Syrian children of school age. UNICEF and its partners are working hard to prevent them from becoming a lost generation.

ECHO and UNICEF in Turkey worked together for children of Syria

The EU Children of Peace initiative is a lasting legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize that the EU received in 2012 for its achievements in peace on the European continent. It was decided that the prize money will go to humanitarian projects, under the management of the European Commission – Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (DG ECHO).

From the initial EUR 2 million funding for the humanitarian projects helping conflict-affected children with education in 2013, the EU doubled the funding to EUR 4 million for the EU Children of Peace projects that are being implemented in 2014.

This initiative includes the construction of 4 prefabricated schools (2 in Reyhanlı, 1 in Kahramanmaraş, 1 in Islahiye), provision of teacher incentives and students transportation for the Syrian refugees in Turkey in collaboration with ECHO and UNICEF in Turkey.

SANLIURFA, Turkey, July 2015