Syria: Going to School in Wartime
More than 3,000 schools in Syria have been damaged or destroyed since the conflict began in the spring of 2011. Another 900 have been turned into shelters. Since last fall, 1.9 million children have dropped out of school—nearly 40% of all registered students in grades 1-9. In Aleppo and Idlib, the war’s most hard-hit provinces, attendance is down to just 23% and 30% respectively, and 1,200 schools have been ruined. In these areas, the vast majority of children are not going to school.
What is UNICEF doing to help? For the most heavily damaged areas, UNICEF plans to deliver 300 prefabricated classrooms; 70 have already been built. School bags with supplies for up to a million children are being distributed in each of Syria’s 14 administrative regions; this month, UNICEF and its partners will launch a home-based program so that 400,000 students who cannot attend school—children in the most dangerous conflict zones—will not fall further behind their peers.
More than 1 million Syrian children have already fled the country as refugees, and UNICEF is helping them with schoolbooks, teacher training and teaching materials. On September 1, a cargo plane landed in Erbil, Iraq carrying 100 tons of UNICEF emergency supplies to help the families pouring into Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The supplies included everything needed to set up temporary schools for refugee children, from tents to educational materials—even art supplies and puzzles for preschoolers.
This fall, UNICEF aims to reach 1.2 million children in Syria and the surrounding region with its Back to Learning campaigns, and $20 million is urgently needed to print and distribute 8 million textbooks and to rebuild and equip schools. This is just one part of the unprecedented humanitarian relief effort for the people of Syria. Please donate to help Syrian children keep their dreams of an education alive.