Because of my family history and my own personal experiences, there are two subjects that will immediately grab my attention when I hear about them — the plight of refugees and lack of access to education.
As a child, I still remember very clearly my family members telling us of the hopelessness and fear that comes when you are forced, with little warning, to abandon your long-time home because of political turmoil. And as I have written many times, I also know that I would not be where I am today if not for the caring teachers and support I received when my family moved to the United States and I was trying to learn a new language and culture.
That’s why I was immediately touched by a story I heard on the radio recently about the work being done by the Syrian Kids Foundation and its Al Salam School.
The school, near Turkey’s busiest border crossing with Syria, provides educational opportunities for almost 2,000 Syrian refugee children. The school was created by a Syrian-Canadian pharmacist who still runs the school with fellow Syrian-Canadian volunteers.
The plight of refugees—especially Syrian refugees—has reached epic proportions and is one that should concern us all. According to UNICEF, approximately 2.7 million Syrian children do not have access to schools, either in Syria or in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan to which they have fled.
One of the aspects of the Al Salam School that especially caught my attention is the fact that almost all of the teachers and staff members are also Syrian refugees. That means that not only is the school helping refugee children, but it’s also providing gainful employment to adult refugees.
The work that the team at the Syrian Kids Foundation is doing is critical in providing hope to thousands of children who currently find themselves in hopeless situations. That’s why I did not hesitate to contact them as soon as I heard the news story and offer the support of the Tariq Farid Foundation.
Following are a few photos of the terrific work the organization is doing. To learn more about the Syrian Kids Foundation and how you can show your support, I encourage you to visit syriankids.ca.
(Photos by Mohamad Ojjeh)