MESOP RECOMMENDATION OF A WADI GERMANY PROJECT : Supporting a school for children of Syrian Refugees – (Click bottom link for donations)

Bainjan, a complex just outside of Suleymania on the road to Chamchamal, is inhabited mostly by Syrian and now a number of Yezidi refugee families. The local elementary school has around 125 pupils ranging from the first to the sixth grade (and next year, grades seven, eight and nine will be added to the school).

WADI has a special relationship with the complex and its youngest and cutest inhabitants, because the accountant of WADI, Kumry Alferha, who herself is a refugee from Syria and came to Suleymaniah in 2004, is taking a lot of care about these children.

Earlier in the year, the eager pupils received clothes from WADI and now, on the last day of school they were waiting, wide eyed and hopeful for their end of school year gifts. The fifth and sixth grade boys received footballs while the girls received bracelet-making kits. The younger pupils received dolls and big toy trucks. To top off this joyous occasion, each child and teacher were handed tasty sweets especially ordered for them. The children, sometimes trilingual (speaking Kurdish, Arabic, and English) were very grateful for this little gesture – to some it may not seem like a big deal, it means the world to children who are trying to achieve the unachievable and find some semblance of stability in an unstable world.

The school building, now large with numerous classrooms is a result of donations. Sadly, teaching material is scarce, making the teachers’ job that much harder. The teachers themselves are scarce as money is hard to come by and they are not as compensated as they should be. The pupils are in need of the curriculum books so they can immerse themselves in their schoolwork but alas they are unable to do so.

Often they are forced to share one book between several of them. The school also lacks a library as books are expensive and there is no budget allocated to buy any. Even if books were provided, the school has very little of furniture so books should come with bookshelves.

Other subjects in school, subjects that the children of Bainjan seem to love are impossible to fully study because of the lack of material.

There is a need of art supplies as right now art class is strictly about imagination because there are no coloring tools, no papers, no scissors or other art related materials. The same applies to music class. There are no instruments, no sheet music and no microphones or speakers. The eager music teacher who is excited to pass his talents on to the children is unable to do so because of the lack of material.

Another issue is the lack of teachers. The teachers are overworked because of the sheer number of pupils versus the understaffed administration of the school.

The children in Bainjan are not like other children. The trauma they have endured in their homeland of Syria, then as refugees in Iraq warrants a great deal of crisis treatment and even first aid in the form of grief counseling. Children are the true losers in war and displacement as they are forced to be mobile in the exact time when children’s experts assert that they need stability and a strong sense of home.

Children should not have to worry about what to wear for school, where to obtain their school books and whether or not there will be enough teaches at school to guide them through their day.

Another pressing issue related to this, is that most of the children have missed out on two years of schooling due to their status as Syrian refugees. Because of their lack of paper documentation, the Iraqi authorities put off their enrollmentin school. Two years is a long time for a child not to be in school and many have fallen behind pedagogically. Therefore, funding for reinforcement classes are neededso the children can catch up to their actual school year.

This is a very urgent need and as of this moment there is neither funding to compensate teachers, nor to provide teaching equipment such as books, notebooks and pens. As of now, what WADI can provide is small but meaningful things such as some clothes and toys.

We wish we were able to provide more of these aforementioned services, as they are crucial to the futures of the children. Very few refugees actually return to their homeland and the current situation in Syria points to a very bleak future ahead for the Syrians.

Therefore, it is instrumental that we provide these necessities for the children if they are to become capable adults in the future Iraq.

Should we be so lucky to see a safe and war-free Syria in our lifetime, then we should make sure we have taken care of the younger generation so they can help rebuild Syria. That starts with providing the proper education for the children in Bainjan.

And you can support them with your donation.