Despite dwindling funding and support, volunteers in Aleppo have set up a summer school for children to keep them off the streets outside of term time.
The course has been organised by volunteers for the summer to keep children busy during the holidays, especially following years of delay in education due to the civil conflict in Syria. The school has welcomed over 200 students for the summer course thanks to the efforts of the volunteering teachers and school staff.
“We have put in place a curriculum and each teacher teaches according to their own specialisation and teaching method that they use in class. We receive children generally into the school and each class exceeds more than 40 students and we are sometimes forced to split them in two”, noted one of the teachers at the school.
Some of the subjects being taught over the summer course include Arabic language, foreign languages (including English), study of the Quran and religious studies in general. The students who are attending have come of their own free will and are grateful for the efforts expended by the volunteering teachers to instruct them over the holiday period.
“The teachers put in a big effort to teach us”, said one of the young students in class.
Parts of Aleppo Province are still under the control of Opposition forces and have not yielded to the Syrian regime’s forces. The material and financial means available in these areas are limited and so there is a strong reliance on volunteers to provide services that would otherwise be guaranteed by state institutions.
Similar initiatives involving volunteers in the education sector have been prevalent in rebel-held areas. For instance, the Tal al-Daman Educational Complex in the west of Aleppo Province was destroyed by an airstrike towards the end of 2017, but it was reconstructed and rehabilitated to a certain degree thanks to the efforts of volunteering teachers and parents who paid for the reconstruction from their own pockets. This is a common pattern of events in rebel-held areas of the north of Syria.