A learning centre in the village of Ma'araba in the eastern Daraa countryside provides education and rehabilitation for children with hearing, speaking and learning difficulties.
Living with disabilities, especially those of sensory nature, can be a difficult prospect at the best of times and places. And in Syria, where the seven-year conflict has destroyed most educational and healthcare facilities, finding specialist staff and schools for children with such disabilities is not only difficult, but the few facilities available are often beyond the financial reach of ordinary Syrians. A new learning centre in the eastern Daraa countryside seeks to alleviate some of these challenges.
Located in the small town of Ma’araba, just east of the town of Bosra, the learning centre caters primarily to children with hearing and speaking disabilities between the ages five and twelve. Classes are tailored around their needs to ensure that they can learn everything they would in a standard school. In addition to the classes, the centre offers a number of extracurricular activities including arts and crafts or martial arts. The centre also caters to children with learning difficulties, with classes geared for those between the ages five and ten, providing similar educational opportunities as well as wider rehabilitation programmes.
What is notable about this centre here in Daraa is that it is entirely free of charge. Furthermore, the centre does not receive any support from any political body or organisation and the staff are unpaid. Everything here is done on a purely voluntary basis. And yet, the staff here have managed to give these children a chance at a normal childhood despite such meagre means.
Daraa is notable for having remained relatively calm since the last round of clashes came to an end in mid-2017. The extended, if tense calm punctuated by sporadic skirmishes has allowed a semblance of reconstruction and economic recovery to take place. In conjunction, a large numbers of initiatives were launched to help those effected by war. Ranging from a mobile school that provides education across the countryside to a support centre for traumatised children in Daraa City and a rehabilitation centre catering to those left disabled by war, these initiatives are often reliant on small budgets and smaller resources. And yet, the positive impacts they have on the people they help is incalculable