Homs, Syria, 24 February 2020 - “I will not stop working until illiteracy among children in my village is eliminated,” says Mr. Ahmad Alshawi, principal of Reyad Hamoud school, standing among students in the schoolyard. Only a few months ago, they would be standing amidst rubble and debris.
Reyad Hamoud was the only school in Maheen, a remote village in southern rural Homs, welcoming around 550 students in 17 classrooms. Back in 2015, violence escalated forcing most children and their families, including teachers, to flee.
“Overnight, almost everyone fled, and the village became like a ghost town,” recalls Alshawi.
“Children who ended up in cities were the lucky ones because they were able to continue their learning, unlike those who fled to Rukban camp in the eastern desert and were forced to give up on their learning,” he explains.
Following respite in violence, families started returning to the war-ravaged village amidst a lack of basic services, to find their homes, the school and all infrastructure severely damaged.