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Meet the teachers giving hope to refugee children in Macedonia

Aya, herself a Syrian refugee, wants to make sure that as many refugee children as possible continue their education while journeying through Europe
Aya, herself a Syrian refugee, wants to make sure that as many refugee children as possible continue their education while journeying through Europe

As the borders across Europe are closing, hundreds of thousands of refugees are finding themselves stranded. Some 200 people – 90 of them children – are stuck at the Tabanovce refugee centre in northern Macedonia. Already a well-established presence at the centre, SOS Children’s Villages is working hard to support them.

We are shifting the focus of our programmes from short-term emergency care to longer-term support for children and families stranded at Tabanovce.

Every child has the right to an education

Together with UNICEF and the Macedonian government, we have developed an educational programme for children and young people. Every single one of these children have had to leave their homes, friends and childhoods behind to escape brutal conflicts and devastating poverty. They haven’t been to school in months or even years. Some of the younger children have never even set foot inside a school building.

We believe that every child has the right to a safe, happy childhood full of play and learning. That’s why we’ve worked hard to set up a stimulating programme of classes at Tabanovce. From maths to Arabic language classes, art and music, children are able to learn something new every day.

Teachers from around the world

The majority of the teachers are volunteers and SOS Children’s Villages team members. Meet some of the teachers who are giving hope to vulnerabel refugee children at the Child-Friendly Space in Tabanovce, Macedonia:

The music teacher – Mitre

Mitre is SOS Children’s Villages emergency field coordinator in Macedonia and has recently started teaching music to the children at the centre. What started out as informal classes showing a few children how to play different percussion instruments has transformed into a full music programme in collaboration with student volunteers from the Faculty of Music at Skopje University.

Refugee children at school in Macedonia
Refugee children at the Tabanovce refugee centre in Macedonia are given the opportunity to continue their education

The Arabic teacher – Aya

Aya also works for SOS Children’s Villages as an Arabic translator. A refugee herself, Aya feld her hometown of Damascus, Syria, in 2012. A student at the time, she was devastated that her learning had been interrupted. When she saw that the children stranded at Tabanovce were also missing school, she proposed giving Arabic language lessons. She now teaches a room packed full of children eager to learn!

The art teacher – Malena

Malena is originally from Ecuador and teaches the most popular class: art! A long-term volunteer with SOS Children’s Villages, Malena has an art therapy qualification. Many of the children have been through things that no child should ever have to go through and art can often help them overcome the trauma they have experienced.

Help give children caught up in crises the opportunity to continue their education. Donate to our emergency relief fund today. 

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