Education Will Help Them Reach Their Dreams

Hanin, Kerem, Mohamed and Fatma all agree that education will help them reach their dreams.

22 October 2021

Turkey is home to over 4 million refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, the largest number in the world. Nearly 3.7 million are Syrian, including over 1.7 million children. More than 770,000 refugee children have enrolled in school, but more than 400,000 refugee children are still missing out on their education because of financial and non-financial barriers.

“School is our only hope,” Hanin (12 years old) and Kerem (10 years old) say. The siblings continue their education in Turkey after fleeing from Syria with their mother.


Kerem is in Grade 4. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerem said that he missed his school so much. Previously, he never missed school when schools were open.

Hanin attends the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) to learn Turkish and catch up with children her age in Turkey.


“I love knitting! I knit my doll’s skirt. When I finish school, I can become a fashion designer,” says Hanin, showing her doll proudly. 


Both children were enrolled in education services thanks to UNICEF’s support.

“The schools were shut in Syria due to the war. The planes were flying overhead continuously. To keep children safe and in school I brought them here,” says their 34 years old mother.


The ‘Support to School Enrolment Programme’ (SSE) enables the most vulnerable refugee children to access age-appropriate education opportunities. Under this programme, outreach teams identify children aged 5- to 17 years, assessing their status, and referring them to relevant services.

Mohamed: Yesterday’s Refugee, Tomorrow’s Pharmacist

Mohamed (15 years old) is also one of those children who was provided with the opportunity of education, thanks to SSE.


Mohamed fled his home in Syria four years ago with his parents and siblings. The family of eight settled safely in Adana, Turkey.


Mohamed (right) and his 13-year-old brother Husam (center) enrolled in school in Turkey thanks to UNICEF’s support. Both Mohamed and Husam’s favourite class is maths.


“If I can continue my classes, I can become a pharmacist,” says Mohamed.

“When schools reopen, I will sit with Abdulkadir in our classroom. He is my friend. When I don’t understand the teacher, I ask him” he adds, smiling.


Fatma’s Only Dream: To Finish School Someday

Like Mohamed’s dream of becoming a pharmacist, other children benefitting from the SSE programme have their own dreams, too. “As long as I have education, I will be equipped for any dream in the future.” Fatma (15) says. “I dream of finishing school one day. That’s the only dream I have so far,” she adds.


The Tayyavi Family is also among those who fled the conflict in Syria. Fatma, her parents, and her four siblings arrived in Turkey eight years ago. The family first came to the temporary refugee center in Adana, then started living in the city center.


When Yusuf, her father, had difficulty performing the required address change from one province to another to send Fatma to school, the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) outreach team facilitated Fatma’s enrolment to a nearby school.


Fatma’s brother Amar (6 years old), who wants to be a teacher when he grows up, was also enrolled in education thanks to the SSE prgoramme.

With financial support from EU Humanitarian Aid, the activities are carried out in close partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of National Education and ASAM, a national NGO.