A Community School For Everyone

A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt

Dalia Younis
A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis

03 September 2019

In UNICEF, a key slogan is “No lost generation”. Following this motto, UNICEF works with different partners to meet the needs of deprived and vulnerable children across Egypt. Among those children are Syrian children who were uprooted from their country after more than 8 years of a terrible war and who face many challenges in their host communities.

Many Syrian children are leaving school for different reasons. Some simply because their parents cannot afford it, others are facing bullying or language barriers. UNICEF works in Gamasa, New Damietta and several other areas where Syrian communities are located to provide psychosocial support to parents and children.

UNICEF provides financial and technical support to child protection and social rehabilitation services. In this photo essay, we explore the story of a Syrian family who created a community school that leaves no child behind.

A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
Back home, in Syria, Ahmed and his family were educators. One day of 2010, a bomb flattened the school at which he and his mother worked. It was a miracle that Ahmed and his mother survived the bombing. It was also a clear signal that he wasn’t safe at all in his hometown. With no other option, Ahmed decided to leave the country with his family and to head to Egypt.
A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
In Egypt, the family noticed the Syrian children’s struggle with the different education systems. Some children can’t follow because of the different dialects and terms, others can’t understand the exam system or how to get started. They decided to take this education in their own hands and started private tutoring to all children in need for help to pass their finals. The word of mouth spread quickly and TDH became aware of the Ahmed’s family initiative.

   

A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
Ahmed made a proposal to TDH and UNICEF to start a community school at the other far side of the city of New Damietta to serve the families living there. His proposal was accepted and El-Rowad community school was launched in 2013.
A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
UNICEF supported the new school by providing facilities, supplies, furniture, education tools and training to the staff which included both Egyptian and Syrian educators.

   

A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
The community school’s main focus is Early Childhood Development (ECD). Accepting children as early as few months old, the school offers a tailored learning experience to each age group so that each child can fulfill his or her potential early enough. It offers free services for children who have lost their parents. UNICEF also support the school with speech and behavioral sessions for children with special needs.
A Syrian family launches a community school for children from all nationalities in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
Building a great reputation in New Damietta, the community school started receiving students from all over the city, including Syrians, Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis, Iraqis and other nationalities.