The biggest problem for a Syrian child in Lebanon is, no doubt, education.” Most Syrian refugee children have been out of school for one to two years. The lingering conflict in the home country is jeopardizing a whole generation of children. According to UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Maria Calivis, “fewer than 25 per cent of Syrian children are enrolled in public education from the total number of 400,000 displaced Syrian children,
Maybe this is one of the most important reasons which have pushed me to involve myself on this process, since the human is congenital to the place where he is born.Syria, where I deemed my eternal passion for its soil .where my being was composed and my soul had emerged, my passion to this holy land pushed me to be part of any efforts to make the peace and winds of change soar over my lovely country again.
I had left Syria more than 18 months ago to set up my new life and my new work, but something stopped me when I first arrived to Lebanon, I was wandering in Tripoli streets. I was shocked when I have seen a lot of children were either begging or working, instead of joining the schools.
The Syrians were everywhere, they fled their home country seeking peace and secure, unknowing which destiny is waiting them and their children, a lot of bitter facts, I faced in Lebanon, made me made my decision and be where I am now .and share every DISPLACED AND ORPHAN CHILD their agony and homelessness,
After, I had my own good experience in working with education field in Syrian for many years. I followed one of the local NGOs in Lebanon to start my work as a teacher, in a very short time, I was assigned as a school principle for one of seven schools for the NGO I am working for,
through working on this year I recognized, what do our children need, and how are they were treated, I got a good experience plus to my previous experiences in management domain,
However, this year was so different where the number of displaced people was increasing dramatically .On the other hand, the fundraisers and the organizations started to be exhausted from the Syrian crises length.
It was the beginning of the school year when many of the Syrians refugees in Diar Ammar, North of Tripoli in Lebanon, started either to call me or visit my house to be assured about the school for this year.
I didn't have the accurate answer since my answer was depending on the NGO I am following. after passing more than one month of the school starting, the people were still dramatically increasing their visit and their calls to me for a time my house turned into a school where my last year students were coming by groups to me to be assured about their school starting , them and their parents ,
finally after more than one month , I had a call from the NGO boss to attend a meeting for their schools , I was shocked when I was informed that this year will be on the expense of the Syrian parents where every child will cost his family about 330$ in addition to the high cost of transportation fees . For a while I thought about the children I've seen them first I arrived to Tripoli ,the orphans and the lost parents children and all of Syrian war children who don't have their daily food expense to pay such a huge amounts , especially most of the Syrian families members are more than three to four children,.
There are no funds for this year for our organization, "they claimed" well. I am apologizing; I can't complete my work with you on these hard conditions for our people. I declined my position and I went back home , my nieces and nephews were waiting my coming back to tell them to prepare themselves to school ; It was a shock!! When I have seen in their faces the sadness and frustration while I was telling them there is no school for this year.
"I am sorry kids I couldn't help you"
The people who met me in the street and who come to my home, my last year children were waiting the good news. Alas! in vain
The people trust me and the children like me. I have promised everyone who met me to help them.
I had to find a solution,
On the same time a lot of local NGOs were so active to enroll the Syrian students and ask their family for payment.- our children became a lucrative, commercial commodity - for those who are seeking money and power,
Since, I had to fulfill my promises and vows for the children of my last year school and their parents. I started to brainstorm my next step;
Firstly, I had to choose a Syrian team who has the same vision, those who will represent the live consciousness when the humanity is in a deep sleep,
Mr. Samir and his wife are two old friends' lawyers; are helping the Syrian refugees and they are volunteering their time and labor to help the Syrians in the region,
Rabie'a is a young guy who used to come my home and encourage me. He is working so hard to offer the help for every Syrians.
Pro Yasser is a well-educated man; I was so happy introducing to him and know about such amazing wise man.
All of us met to find the solution; I had informed them about my plan to start the work. All of us agreed to work on the team soul.
They introduced me to one of religious men in the area and told me he might help us, since he has good relations with Arabs community. I met him in his office, he was such kind man and he promised that he will do his best. I couldn't wait him since the time is running in hurry and now it is more than one month for starting the schools. Abo Samir a school owner visit my home to offer me his school to start registration the new students,
"You can use my school for running your job. And the school rent will be 35 $ for every student.
"Well let me think and figure out if I can start or not".
The problem of funds was the biggest
"OMG what kind of adventure," I need a lot; School renting, books, teachers' salaries, school supplies and a lot of other expenses.
How can I offer them? "Well I am not frustrated", my goal is a sublime one and I am sure Allah will be with me. I sat so sad for many nights trying to figure out the solution,
Let me try with Sama if she is able to bring back bags and school supplies with her from USA.
Mr. Mohammed, Oh yeas, the amazing, Syrian, generous man, who I met last year when he helped the students to pay for buses fee in the school. Let me call him, "I thought".
It was the 3rd of November, when I got the most amazing news I have ever heard. Mr. Mohammed assured me that he can pay for the school renting,
"I am working for Allah and for my duty, I am a normal laborer. Although, I don't have sufficient funds to cover the school for the whole year, but I will try my best to offer from my own labor and help those children to be enlightened and construct schooling for every deprived child in the area. I am with you guys, keep up and start the school"
I couldn't believe what I've heard!! , the school will be found,
But there are still a lot waiting me, books, teacher salaries, school supplies.
Mr. Mohammed was for me the savior for every deprived children,
The hope was filling every corner of my soul, Can I?
Yeas I can.
It was Thursday morning when I've started my day. The weather sounds perfect to sip my coffee on the rooftop .at that day I was inspired by everything around, the dimmed horizon started to polish gradually. It was the daybreak time. The rooster was yielding for every creature; it was awakening the earth, announcing the birth of a new day.
I was watching the sun disk blooming, some clouds were gathering here and there in the sky, like the cattle were following each other .the birds started to sing their everyday symphony, on their sounds the trees reacted and started to dance pushed by the western breeze who hosted them. The folk of seagulls were soaring over sea sphere watching wishfully to join me and be part of this union.
The sun, the clouds, the morning birds, the trees, the rooster and everything in nature are working in a harmonic way to complete each other. I was part of this harmony , I was part of this cycle , My eyes stared at the sphere of the infinite ocean , My ecstasy was when I recognized how nature works
It was 7:30 am my time to do my daily list, and prepare my Nescafe. The first place to start my labor was the school. It was 8:15, when I first arrived to the school. The children surrounded me ." the school is clean Sir "a group of them shouted . Another group came to me telling "Ahmed brought his extra back bag to his friend Khalid, another child took my hand bag telling me, let me help you. It was very rare feeling,
It was 10:30 am when I had to meet the teachers; my meeting lasted for twenty minutes. Me and them agreed to work in the soul of a team work, and if all the people let our children down we won't.
I appreciated them and I ended the meeting after I was assured that they are doing their jobs perfectly
My next course was to 'Akkar region' it is about 40 km north of Tripoli where I carried a bag of gifts to the Syrian refugee's children of Al-Nour school.
It was 1:30 pm when I was there. I was welcomed warmly by the principle and the teachers, "you came on time" the principle said, we have a celebration in the school. I was happy for that. Firstly, let me see the children of the school,
about 200 shiny faces were looking to me .they are the children of the school.
I am Mustafa , I am Syrian Like you , I have 350 kids like you they love you so much , they had a gifts from a sweet American kids like you and them , they had theirs ,and asked me to give you yours . The smiles filled every child face. There are still people who are thinking about you and appreciating you dears .
you are the third school who who had from this inspiring gifts ,
Kids! My advice to you is, to be one, where everyone helps the other, clean your school, respect your teachers, and obey your parents at home. And do your homework daily. Me, and the director of the school will be in every class, sharing you the gifts after the celebration.
The celebration started with a ritual religious praising of our prophet Mohammed (peace be up on him). I was shocked when I've noticed that the celebration had lasted so long while we have our comfortable chairs and the children are standing, the principle is a religious man , he started his speech and he was talking to the children in a very difficult standard Arabic language. The children looked so tired unknowing what his speech is about , I asked them to stop , that isn't fair . Stop that. All of them were silent, when I was talking, that enough for them.
I have shared the gifts for the children; I have finished my visit to this school at 2:30 pm. I was told by the director of the school that there is another school wish to meet me. They are not so far from here, it is a big school for 700 Syrian displaced kids . The school starts at 3 pm," he said"
Well- lets go. I am happy to be part of these lovely kids time. I wish I had more gifts to share with them. It was about 30:30 pm when I was in the school.
I spent more than one hour wandering and watching the children .it was a mixed feeling of bitterness and sadness looking to their faces. There is a tragedy behind every child word, a lot of suffering and cruelness rolled their life in these three years. Nobody cares, I have seen the children learning in the dark, it was the evening there is no electricity in the school. Only their shiny faces gave the lights to the teachers to teach them. The reflection of darkness, in the rooms of the school, transformed in my mind into light. Yeas it is the light of hope , I did recognized what is the meaning of this ten thousand years of civilization in Syrian . the resolution in their eyes was so remarkable . Isn't a dark? I asked one of the classrooms. No Sir ,we see everything , yeas my kids , Your eyes is telling me so , I will do my best to help you dear kids ,( Shokran Ostaz, mabdna ela slamtak ) which means their gratitude for my kind way of offering the help and giving the hope in words , it is unforgettable words comes from the mouths of those lovely angels .
I have met the teachers and the principle which they became for me the only lively conscious in this world. They are insisting to teach their kids in the dark and in the streets while the local and international NGOs are busy with collecting and piling more money. I have promised the teachers and myself that I am going to do my best to help every school who are doing the same like them. I was so affected by the situation of education for Syrians in Lebanon.. The NGOs the local and the international don't have any observer to see that . the Syrians displaced people who don't have their daily food expense volunteered their time and their efforts to keep the process of education still alive .while in NGOs we will find a huge staff they are competing and boasting who have a higher salary . Shame on those who do shame..
It was: 5 pm when I have left the school. I called some of my friends in the area to find a solution for this very serious problem. Me and a group of well-educated people in the area took the responsibility to find channels to help these school and every child out of the school .it was Friday when we called for a conference for eighteen school to enter in a kind of strike for eighteen schools in a different region in Lebanon. We want the media and all the world to listen to our children demands, and their legal right of education, the strike will be under the name of "who doesn't teach me doesn't represent me" and this is a very clear message to Ala'etlaf in Turkey and the international NGOs.
Although I always criticize such kind of meeting but this photo on Shtora to organize the strike . on Monday .
some of the gifts from the USA children to the children of Syria , Sama Wareh brought them with her when she was here in last November .. She shared 350 pieces for Tuyoor Al-Amal school children she had extra 500 gifts she asked me to share them for Syrian kids in other school , I shared them in Two schools. 300 Al-Hadeetha school in Tripoli and 200 in Akkar in Al Nour school ..