Seeing the World Through Yusuf Eyes
Yusuf, 10, attends school thanks to the Support for School Enrolment (SSE) programme. He wants to become an interpreter to tell his family all about what is happening in the world around them
Yusuf is 10 years old and he is the third child of a family of six. After the war started in Syria, Yusuf's father was facing difficulties to access treatment for a condition he was suffering from. While traveling from his hometown to a nearby city searching for his medication, Yusuf’s father has gone missing and never returned home.
In August 2019, Yusuf and his family came to Turkey. Yusuf now lives in Şanlıurfa with his mother Skout, sisters Hammad (8), Asmaa (7), Amal (2) and older brother Osama (15). Yusuf's mother Skout cannot work as she needed to stay with Amal who is only two. The family subsists on the social assistance programmes and the money Osama brings home by working in an open bazaar after school hours.
Yusuf had never been schooled in Syria because of his family's economic situation and the conflict there. After he obtained his identity card in Turkey, he was enrolled in UNICEF supported Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP).
As a result, Yusuf received his 5th grade equivalency certificate. When the family tried to enrol Yusuf in a school for formal education, the school did not accept him.
Due to the language barrier the family was not sure what could be done to enrol Yusuf in school. Skout, Yusuf’s mother, explains “When you live somewhere where you don't speak the language, everything becomes cumbersome, you can't communicate, you can't really engage in life; something's always missing.”
Until the day Skout, heard about the Support for School Enrolment (SSE) programme, “I will never forget the moment I went into ASAM’s office. They explained to me my options and what was the best option for Yusuf to continue his education, they even told me about how we could receive financial assistance to send Yusuf to school.”
Yusuf was among more than 400,000 school-age Syrian children living in Turkey who do not attend school. This makes those children vulnerable to discrimination, violence, and abuse.
The Support for School Enrolment (SSE) programme enables the most vulnerable refugee children in Turkey to access formal and non-formal education programmes. Under this programme, outreach teams will also identify 5- to 17-year-old children, assessing their status, and referring them to experts and appropriate care services. The SSE programme is a partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and ASAM, and was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Union.
“I will continue my education so I can become an interpreter and tell my mum what's going on”, Yusuf tells us while smiling at his mother. Skout holds Yusuf’s hand and continues, “Maybe you don't need more than one language to meet your basic needs, but communication is very important to feel involved and part of the community you are living in. You need to speak the language to grasp what's going on around you. I want my children to get educated and to communicate with people. I am waiting excitedly for the day Yusuf will realize his dream and become an interpreter and tell me all about what's going on in the world, but also interpret life so that he may convey to people the meaning he has found and be the meaning itself .”