Planting Seeds of Knowledge: Alaa's Journey through Early Childhood Education
Seeds of Knowledge
Duhok, Iraq, 31 July 2023 - In the midst of challenging circumstances, the resilience and determination of children can shine brightly, illuminating a path toward success. Meet Alaa, a 7-year-old girl whose family hails from the Sinjar District in Ninewa Governorate. In 2014, they were displaced to Duhok Governorate, and it was there that she was born.
Currently, they reside together in the Khanke IDP camp. Alaa was actively engaged in the UNICEF-supported Early Childhood Education program offered within the camp, which has left a profound impact on her abilities. Thanks to this program, financed by the United States Government, Alaa has acquired essential skills in reading, writing letters and numbers, and has also discovered her talent for self-expression through drawing.
From Displacement to Empowerment, Building Strong Foundations
Alaa was born into a family that had been grappling with financial difficulties for years. She was the youngest of five, along with her two brothers and two elder sisters, all of whom had undergone only primary school education before dropping out due to the family's financial constraints. Her elder brothers and sisters, who had long given up on their education, were a source of inspiration for her to carve her own path in life.
Thawra, Alaa's mother, had always dreamed of providing her children with a good education. However, the difficult financial circumstances their family was facing at the time had made it nearly impossible for her to do so. When Alaa started her involvement in the Early Childhood Education programme, Thawra felt a glimmer of hope that her dreams were finally coming true.
Thawra had never seen any of her other children with this level of excitement and anticipation for their studies. She had seen how eager and excited Alaa every morning was to go to her early childhood education center. Alaa's mother said that she will do everything she can to help her daughter succeed in school and get the education she wants.
“Alaa has learned a lot from the Early Childhood Education program, such as reading, writing, and drawing. She also made wonderful progress in her social development with family and friends since starting the Early Childhood Education program,” says Thawra with pride. “Alaa loves her teachers at the center and is happy with the education she is receiving there.”
Early Childhood Education encompasses the nurturing and educational support provided to young children before they enter formal schooling. This essential phase focuses on fostering learning and development in preschoolers, with a specific emphasis on facilitating optimal brain development. Through activities centered around early reading and numeracy skills, as well as opportunities for peer socialization, Early Childhood Education fosters emotional and mental growth in children. The ultimate objective is to cultivate well-rounded individuals, equipping them with a solid foundation for continuous learning, preparing them for future academic success, and ensuring their overall flourishing throughout their lives.