From fixing phones to fixing his future

For Ahmed’s family, the telephone plays an important role in their life.

UNICEF
For Ahmed’s family, the telephone plays an important role in their life.
UNICEF/Ergen

18 June 2019

For Ahmed’s family, the telephone plays an important role in their life. Since they fled Sryia because of the war and arrived to Turkey five years ago, the family’s eldest son Mustafa (30) and his brother Ahmed (16) had to work in a mobile shop to look after their family and to keep their youngest brother Abdulrahman (8) in school.

Finding a way

When asked about why Ahmed stopped going to school, his mother said, “Ahmed’s father can’t work due to his illness, and since we arrived to Turkey Ahmed wanted to work to contribute to the house needs. I was not happy to see him leave education, but he always said that he has to do this for us, especially for Abdulrahman."

In the meantime, Ahmed’s youngest brother, Abdulrahman, loves going to school. He wants to become a police officer, so he is very keen on continuing his education and doesn’t miss a day at school.

At the beginning of the school year, Abdulrahman’s family enrolled him in the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education(CCTE) Programme which aims to encourage school enrolment and improve their school attendance of Syrian and other refugee children.

The CCTE is a national social assistance programme which has been implemented by the Ministry Family, Labour and Social Policies since 2003. In early 2017 it was extended to Syrian and other refugee families and is being implemented through a close partnership between the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policies, the Ministry of National Education, the Turkish Red Crescent and UNICEF. The extension of the programme has been made possible by the generous support of the European Union (EU), and is also supported by the Governments of Norway and the United States of America.

For Ahmed’s family, the telephone plays an important role in their life.
UNICEF/Ergen
Ahmed and his brother play a table game at Turkish Red Crescent Youth Worker.

Regular attendance and child protection services

A few months ago, Abdulrahman suffered an illness and stopped going to school for more than a week. A child protection worker from the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) team visited Abdulrahman’s home to check on Abdulrahman as part of the child protection services offered by the CCTE Programme. When children benefiting from the CCTE programme fail to attend school for more than four days in any month without providing documented justification, a child protection worker visits the household to see if the child’s family need any help and refers the family to the relevant services, so the child can continue going to school regularly and avoid an interruption of the CCTE payments.

When the child protection worker visited Abdulrahman’s house, they also met Ahmed and learned about his insistence to work and help his family, leading to him not going to school. The child protection team explained to Ahmed that he too could access the CCTE programme and emphasized the long-term benefits for Ahmed if he continued his education. Finally, Ahmed and his family decided to enroll him in school.

“I started going to school again, but right now I’m finding it a bit difficult. Back in Syria I was always the first one to hand in my exam paper; now I’m always the last. I’ll get better as my Turkish improves I hope,” Ahmed tells us.

For Ahmed’s family, the telephone plays an important role in their life.
UNICEF/Ergen
Ahmed plays football with his friend after school at a parking lot next to his house in Altındag, Ankara.

Starting all over

"When there’s a war,” Ahmed points out, “you can’t heal all the wounded, but just because you can’t heal all of them you don’t have to lose hope. Instead, you heal one of them, and then that one heals another, and in this way the kindness spreads. People don’t have the power to undo what has happened, but right now we can start all over, and each person has to start with her or himself.”

Ahmed is starting with himself by resuming his education. With his dream of becoming a teacher, he hopes to spread kindness and revive not only his own future, but that of other children and young people.