The seven year conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives and displaced more than half of the country’s 22 million people. Caritas Australia is helping Syrian refugee children impacted by the war to continue their education.
Bayan (front) and her friends standing in their classroom, ready for the Caritas Education Program’s class to begin. Students receive vital assistance to help them catch up and adapt to the Jordanian curriculum. Photo: Richard Wainwright.
Bayan is a 12-year-old girl Syrian girl living with her family in Jordan.
She grew up in the Syria’s capital Damascus, living with her parents and six siblings. Her father was a construction worker and her mother a housewife.
‘Before the war in Syria, we were safe. We lived a comfortable life,’ says Hanan, Bayan’s mother.
‘Everything was alright in terms of living expenses and the availability of education for the kids.’
The Syrian conflict turned their lives upside down and they were forced to flee to Jordan.
As the family’s time in Jordan extended, Caritas Australia and its partners, Caritas Jordan and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) stepped in to provide vital academic and psychosocial support through the Caritas Education Program.
Bayan started attending one of Jordan’s Caritas Schools which operate on Saturdays, providing tuition to disadvantaged students.
‘The school brings them back to a normal life, as they start to dream again,’ says Abeer, Caritas Education Protection Coordinator.
Bayan’s mother says that attending school has changed Bayan’s psychological state, giving her a sense of tranquillity.
‘I would not be able to read and write,’ says Bayan. ‘School has the power to lift us up, so we can reach our goals and learn quickly.’
Caritas provides a broad range of other education services, including preparing pre-school children for school and supporting students who have missed out on schooling to return to the education system.
When it is safe Bayan’s family would like to return to Syria. Bayan is determined to continue her studies regardless of where she lives.
‘I would like to become the best ophthalmologist, as sight is the most important thing in our lives. If it wasn’t for sight, we would not be able to read, write or learn.’
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