Batoul*, in Idlib, explained the threats to education in her town. “I missed school for one month because I was so scared for myself and my father.” When armed groups imposed new controls on education in her area, schools were shut down and changes were introduced to the official curriculum. Batoul is not the only one in her family facing obstacles. She said that her parents, both teachers, are constantly threatened. Batoul made the dangerous trip with her mother out of Idlib to Hama in May to sit for her grade 9 exams.
Others, like Ahmad*, are determined to learn despite living under siege and with constant shelling. He explained that sometimes children are too hungry to concentrate and study.
“We studied under siege
and we were often hungry.”
"We used to study in the daylight, because there was no electricity — not even candles — to allow us to read during the night,” said the 19-year-old who prepared for the grade 12 exams under the most difficult circumstances.
“Many of my friends would get dizzy, as they didn’t have anything to eat and lacked protein to keep them going during the school day.
I saw my maths teacher faint one day because he had nothing to eat, but he was still coming to school to teach us.”
“I failed last year’s grade 9 exams,” said Mazen*, also from rural Damascus. “There was a lot of fighting and it was difficult for me to study. Every morning, we used to start school early at 5 a.m., but only for three hours because of the shelling.”
“I borrowed lecture notes and books from other students to prepare for the exams,” explained Ghadeer, who was pregnant when she decided to return to school.
Ghadeer traveled from Raqqa to Hasakah with her five-month-old baby girl and grandmother, who offered to help take care of the infant so that her granddaughter could continue her education.
“Giving my granddaughter a chance to complete her exams gives me great happiness,” said Ghadeer’s grandmother, who does not know how to read or write.
“These girls should have a better future than ours and this can be done only through education,” she added.
Hadi, Ghadeer, Fatima, Batoul, Ahmad and Mazen are just a few of the 7.5 million children in Syria who continue to try to survive and keep their dreams alive despite the deadly conflict all around them. For them, education is the hope of a better future