Education in a War Torn World by Maddie Vagim
April 19, 2016
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Education in a War Torn World
The war in Syria has caused untold tragedy for the people residing in the country. The refugees face an immense amount of difficulties in making a new life for themselves outside of a country wrecked with turmoil. The children refugees face their own set of troubles in fleeing Syria. These children are forced out of their schools by war and very few are able to continue their education in the place where they end up. Schools simply do not have enough room for the influx of refugee children and as a result turn away students desperate to learn. Within that struggle for education, girls face even more discrimination than boys do, and face dangers such as harassment, kidnapping, abuse, and even death in their pursuit of education. In response to this pressing issue, individuals have stepped up to give these girls a safe environment and greater opportunities as they search for a better life. In Jordan, where over 635,000 refugees have taken shelter, Principal Maha Salim Al-Ashqar of the Khawla Bint Tha’alba Elementary School for Girls, has made changes to her school’s enrollment policy and as a result created change in the fight for children’s right to education. Principal Maha runs an already overcrowded school and when a Syrian refugee mother tried to enroll her daughter, she was compelled to decline the student. However, the mother’s persistence inspired Principal Maha and she told the mother that she would be able to register her daughter if she brought a chair. Ever since then Principal Maha has not turned away a student willing to learn and bring a chair to sit in in the classroom and young girls are able to get the education they need to make a better life for themselves. The United States Agency for International Development took notice in this school and continues to aid this school and many like it by providing teacher training and support for remedial programs. World-renowned education activist Malala Yousafzai is among those at the head of this movement to educate young female Syrian refugees. On her 18th birthday this past July she opened a secondary school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon, where more than 1 million refugees are living. The school intends to educate more than 200 Syrian girls between the ages of 14 and 18 and give them the opportunity to help them find work and generate their own incomes in the future. Yousafzai stated “I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria. I am here on behalf of the 28 million children who are kept from the classroom because of armed conflict. Their courage and dedication to continue their schooling in difficult conditions inspires people around the world and it is our duty to stand by them.” Both of these women have stood against the odds and made an immense amount of change in the fight for education for women and children.