A New Chance For Reyyan to Realize Her Dream
Reyyan, 14, will go to school for the first time in her life thanks to the Support for School Enrolment (SSE) programme
“Sometimes, even if you have no idea of what's going to happen in the end, you have to dream” says Ahmet Cemil, a Syrian father who fled from the war in Syria and arrived in Turkey 5 years ago. Ahmet lives with his family in Istanbul and he has four children; Reyyan (14), Shams El-Din (13), Cilem (10), and Kemal (8). “I know that education is very important for my children, very important for their future. When we first arrived to Turkey it was very difficult for us. We were able to enroll Shams El-Din in school here to continue his education after he stopped going to school because of the war Syria. Yet, for his two sisters and brother this wasn’t the case. They weren’t enrolled in school in Syria and they were too old to start school here,” Ahmet explains.
The family was also facing challenging financial constraints and cultural differences which prevented Reyyan, Cilem and Kemal from going to school in Turkey. All of this has changed after the family was introduced to the Support for School Enrolment (SSE) programme.
The SSE programme enables the most vulnerable refugee children in Turkey to access formal and non-formal education programmes. Under this programme, outreach teams identify 5 to 17 years old children, assess their status, and refer them to experts and appropriate care services. The SSE programme is a partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), and was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Union.
During the first visit of the Support for School Enrollment (SSE) outreach team to the Cemil family, they found out that three of the children don’t go to school. “The team explained to me and my children the importance of enrolling them to school. They also helped me understand how I can overcome the financial and cultural challenges that my kids face. They provided information on the best educational paths for each of my children and guided me about how I could receive financial assistance to continue sending them to school,” Ahmet explained.
The decision has been made; the children will access education. Cilem and Kemal are happy that they will be going to school but the most excited of the siblings is Reyyan. She has never been to school in Syria and when they arrived to Turkey her parents were concerned that she would find it difficult to join a public school. Despite that, Reyyan taught herself how to speak Turkish. Since they arrived in Turkey, she has been watching Turkish programmes and series as well as listening to Turkish music to learn to speak Turkish.
“I am so excited that I will be going to school for the first time. I was always hoping to become a doctor, but since I never went to school I almost lost hope on this dream. Now I have a new chance to realize my dream. I will study hard and do my best to learn everything I need to achieve my goal and become a doctor. I think doctors are the luckiest people because they relief people’s pain,” Reyyan told us with a big smile on her face.