– 12 December 2018
School reopens in war-torn Aleppo
SOS Children’s Villages have completed a school-rebuilding project in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo which will enable thousands of Syrian children to return to full-time education.
The Syrian civil war - already in its eighth year - has destroyed 70% of Aleppo’s educational infrastructure and forced 550 schools in the city to close. This pattern is repeated across the country with only half of Syria’s four million school-age children having access to classrooms and teachers.
Construction began on the Al Thawra Banin school shortly after the city was recaptured by government forces last year. The school now contains 19 newly restored classrooms and can teach 1,800 children in morning and evening shifts.
Al Thawra Banin had once been a cornerstone of educational provision in the city, teaching three generations of the community’s children. It was partially destroyed during heavy attacks on Aleppo in 2014 and had been closed ever since.
SOS Children’s Villages UK CEO Alison Wallace said: “Every child has the right to attend school and obtain the skills and qualifications they need to build themselves a fulfilling and successful future. Yet all too often in times of war and disaster this fundamental right is denied to children.
“Educating future generations is key to the recovery of societies shattered by conflict and division. The reopening of the Al Thawra Banin school means that thousands of children in Aleppo can access the opportunities in life that they deserve.”
An increasing number of refugees have begun returning to the country in recent months as the security situation improves. With much of the city’s infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the war, improved access to education, safe accommodation and basic services such as water and electricity are urgently needed to support incoming children and families.
More than 50,000 Syrians have returned from Lebanon - the largest host country for Syrian refugees - since the beginning of the year and many more are expected to take advantage of transport laid on by the Syrian Ministry of Transport. The recent reopening of the Jaber-Nasseeb crossing which links Jordan with Syria’s southernmost province of Daraa will also likely have an impact on the number of families seeking to return to their communities.
SOS Children’s Villages is supporting children and families in crisis across Syria, providing emergency relief such as food and clean water, medical support for pregnant women and children and trauma counselling.
The charity’s child-labour prevention programme is also providing financial and practical support to Syrian families so that children can return to school. When schooling is unavailable, children can access informal education at SOS Children’s Villages’ child-friendly spaces in Aleppo, Damascus and Tartus.
Find out more about our emergency relief operations around the world.
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at Lucy.Prioli@sosuk.org or on 01223 222 974.