Young volunteers support children in Rural Damascus to continue learning
A community initiative by young volunteers reaches vulnerable children with school supplies
Rural Damascus, Syria – “All of us have been through difficult circumstances in the past few years. Some gave up and quit school, while others persevered. We have a responsibility towards those children to help them go back to school and never give up,” said Mohmad, 17. He is one of the young volunteers supporting a mobile team from Altal’s child friendly space, run by UNICEF’s partner, in Rural Damascus. The space provides children a range of services from mental health and psychosocial support sessions to awareness-raising sessions, case management services and referrals to social services. It also offers parenting sessions, empowering caregivers to better support their children.
The mobile teams, linked to the space, visit public schools in the city to provide support to students regularly. During one of the school visits, the young volunteers learned that some students were at risk of dropping out as they are not able to afford their stationary, backpacks or uniforms. Their families, like many others in Syria, are barely able to make ends meet with the deteriorating economic situation.
The young volunteers took it upon themselves to help the children continue their education.
Teaming up with UNICEF’s partner, the eight young volunteers identified ten children who needed support to continue learning. They bought them the items they needed, packed them, and included messages of encouragement in the packs to be distributed.
The volunteers were as excited as the children about the initiative. “Today, I feel happy and proud that I’ve helped some children go back to school,” said Aya, 13. “My dream is to become an informatics engineer, and I am happy that I helped other children dream about the future,” said Muhannad, 16.
The other volunteers were proud and grateful for being a part of the initiative like Malak and Omar. “I believe that education is the only way for a bright future. I am grateful I’ve been a part of this initiative,” said Malak, 16. “I’m proud to have participated in changing the minds of some children by supporting them to stay in school,” added Omar, 15.
“The distribution of the items was meant to encourage the children to keep going to school. We also tried being role models for the children and show the importance of continuing their education despite the hardships,” reflected Malak about the initiative. She is another member of the team of young volunteers. “Don’t stop asking for knowledge. Your friends (who are learning) await,” her note to the children read.