Feature: Syrian children pursue education despite danger

Source: Xinhua| 2020-11-20 21:25:37|Editor: huaxia

Children take a motorcycle on the way to the school in the Hasakah province in northeastern Syria on Nov. 19, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)

HASAKAH, Syria, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The 13-year-old Wissam al-Hamad rides a motorcycle with two of his classmates in addition to the driver every day to get to his school in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.

Al-Hamad wakes up every morning to the same routine, puts on his school clothes, slings his bag over his shoulder, kisses his mother goodbye, and starts a risky journey to the school on a motorcycle with two of his friends without proper protection.

Entering the school, the boy starts his day in a jam-packed classroom, which is another negative addition to his school experience.

Al-Hamad, like thousands of students in Hasakah, has been victimized by the situation in that area, where the Kurdish militia of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controls large swathes of that province, with the government areas are small in size.

Recent estimates indicate that the number of government schools in Hasakah has decreased from 407 schools to 179 as the Kurdish local authorities captured large numbers of government schools in that province, which led to having little schools in comparison with the students' numbers and the distances the children have to pass to get to their schools every day by unsafe transportation.

Al-Hamad told Xinhua that previously, his school was only 50 meters away from house; now, the new school is far away so they have to go by motorcycle or even on foot sometime.

The boy, however, said that pursuing a better future is all that matters.

"We live in difficult daily circumstances such as rain or scorching heat, however, I study to continue my education and have a secure and bright future," he said.

His father, Muhammad, couldn't hide his worries about sending his son on a motorcycle as taking a taxicab is not cheap for the largely poor communities in Hasakah.

"We have been suffering for over a year, in particular in the cold winter," the father said.

The school principal Randa Youssef said that the school administration is trying its best to teach the students how to maintain good personal hygiene habits despite the large number of students in the classes.

"The classes are jam-packed with students as a result of the current circumstances and the students now have to come to the city amid very tough circumstances," the teacher said.

It's not strange to see on the streets that four children in addition to the driver are riding one motorcycle.

In another school in the city, Ghazal al-Yasawi, a 10-year-old girl, also comes to school by motorcycle. She thinks it's a tough experience but she is optimistic about continuing her education.

"We are getting cold but we have to come to the school to continue our education because all of the nearby schools have been shuttered," she said.

That was a glimpse of the children's suffering in Syria's Hasakah and similar stories can be found in many other areas in the country.

In 2019, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that in Syria, it is estimated that 5.3 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection needs. Enditem

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