Children return to school in Aleppo, supported by UNICEF

Over 1280 schools in Aleppo and its suburbs welcomed 485,000 students for a new school year, 35 schools opened their doors for the first time in seven years.

UNICEF
Children stand in the school yard in front of pre fabricated classrooms and damaged old school building
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
09 September 2018

This week, over 1280 schools in Aleppo and its suburbs welcomed 485,000 determined boys and girls for a new school year. 

Of these, 35 schools opened their doors for the first time, with support from UNICEF. The seven-year long conflict has restricted access to education opportunities for countless children. Thanks to generous contributions from Germany, Educate A Child, ECHO, Norway, Canada, Japan, Argentina, Finland, Luxembourg, DFID and Education Cannot Wait, UNICEF has reached over 2 million school-aged children and youth, teachers and education personnel across Syria with much needed support.

Two school girls walk among distractions
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
Two girls walk to school on the first day of the new school year in the war-ravaged Karem Houmad neighbourhood of east Aleppo.
student holding a pencils case in a classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
10-year-old Mohammad was newly displaced with his family from Fo’ah, southwest of Aleppo, where he lived under siege for three years. “Back in Fo’ah, I only had a red pen to write my homework, now I have a full pencil case,” he says with a smile. “I felt safe walking to school today for the first time in a very long time,” he adds.

Back in Fo’ah, I only had a red pen to write my homework, now I have a full pencil case,

Mohammad , 10

I felt safe walking to school today for the first time in a very long time,

Mohammad,10
a student during recreational activity in classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
A second Graders participates in a recreational activity welcoming children on the first day of school in the old city of Aleppo.
student interacts with a puppet show in classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
A first grader interacts with a puppet show on the first day of school in the old city of Aleppo.

Since the beginning of 2018, UNICEF rehabilitated 122 schools across the country, including 43 in Aleppo and its suburbs. Rehabilitation works continue in an additional 123 schools to allow more children to return to learning. UNICEF also installed over 141 pre-fabricated classrooms to ensure a comfortable learning environment and trained 28,000 teachers on the new national curriculum. Over 1 million children received learning materials, while over 172,000 school bags with stationery were distributed.

Children play in their school yard
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
Children play in their school yard on the first day of the school year in Haidarieh neighbourhood of east Aleppo. Their school received eight pre-fabricated classrooms from UNICEF to replace the destroyed spaces, allowing 750 children to continue their education

I love my new bag because it matches my dress! It’s also my favorite color,

Jamilah, 6
school girl in red  in a classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
Jamilah, 6, attends her first day of Grade 1 in a school in east Aleppo, rehabilitated by UNICEF. “I love my new bag because it matches my dress! It’s also my favorite color,” says Jamilah with a smile.

Finally, to help out-of-school children catch up with their peers, UNICEF also rolled out the Curriculum b programme, allowing children who have missed out on years of education to catch up with their peers by combining two school years in one, and the self-learning programme, allowing children with no physical access to school to study at home or in community centres with the help of caregivers of volunteers.

a school boy in a classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
Hasan, 6, starts his first day of Grade 1 with a big smile at his school in east Aleppo. The school just opened its doors for the first time in over seven years. Hasan and his family fled their hometown of Keffraya southwest of Aleppo last month, after living under siege for three years. “My mother walked me to school today to make sure I don’t get lost!” he says with a grin.

My mother walked me to school today to make sure I don’t get lost!

Hasan, 6
school girl holding textbooks in a classroom
UNICEF/Syria 2018/Khudr Al-Issa
Sarah, 10, receives a set of textbooks for Grade 5 distributed by UNICEF on the first day of school in east Aleppo. “I always like to skim through the textbooks to know what we will learn about throughout the year!” says Sarah.

I always like to skim through the textbooks to know what we will learn about throughout the year!

Sarah, 10