Husain returns to learning after years of displacement

Despite basic living conditions, Husain’s hopes to continue his learning were revived at the camp

Masoud Hasen and Yasmine Saker
a boy in a classroom

19 June 2019

Hassakeh, Syria, 16 June 2019- Husain, now 14, was in Grade 4 when violence escalated in his village, Susa, in Hajin district in rural Deir-ez-Zor, forcing him out of school.

Husain and his family finally fled the area in December 2018, making an arduous journey to safety at Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.

“We walked for three days, without any food or water,” recalls Husain. “We searched for wild plants to eat along the way and drank rain water we collected as we walked!”

 At the camp, despite basic living conditions, Husain’s hopes to continue his learning were revived.


boy pointing at the board in a classroom

“I missed over five years of education, so I almost forgot everything I had learned”


Husain is one of 23,000 school-aged children currently at the camp. Before arriving at Al-Hol, most of the children had been attending school only sporadically while many had never seen the inside of a classroom.

To help children like Husain reach their full potential in life, and thanks to generous contributions from Canada and Educate A Child, UNICEF set up three learning centres with plans underway to establish another four. At the centres, children study a specially designed curriculum that allows those who have missed out on years of education because of conflict and displacement to catch up with their peers.


a boy writing in a clasroom

UNICEF also identified teachers among the camp’s residents and trained them on the curriculum and active learning methods to be able to support the children’s learning journey.

“Without education, I won’t have a career in the future,” says Husain who has excelled in his Arabic classes but is still working on his English.



Since late 2018, over 64,000 people, mostly women and children, have arrived at Al-Hol camp fleeing violence in Hajin and bringing the total camp population to over 73,000 people living in the most basic conditions. UNICEF is working through partners to ensure vulnerable children and their families receive proper healthcare and nutrition, protection and education services, adequate water and sanitation facilities as well as psychosocial support – but needs remain acute.