School Learning Supplies

© UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2013/Halabi
Children at a primary school in Rural Damascus governorate are among more than 400, 000 who have received backpacks and learning supplies as part of a UNICEF-supported Back to Learning campaign. The aim is to reach one million children.

By Tomoya Sonoda and David Youngmeyer

An ongoing Back to Learning campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic has reached more than 400, 000 children, including Muhammad and Shaza – but much more help is needed.

DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic and AMMAN, Jordan, 31 October 2013 – A Back to Learning campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic has reached more than 400, 000 conflict-affected children with school bags and education supplies.

Although the campaign has had much success and is ongoing, “[S]ecurity and communication difficulties continue to hamper access and limit the distribution of school supplies in some areas, ” says UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic Representative Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.

Cooperation, for children

Ongoing conflict has left almost 4, 000 schools – or around one in five – damaged, destroyed or sheltering internally displaced families. Some two million children in the country have been displaced. Some one million were believed to be out of school inside the Syrian Arab Republic during the last school year.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other partners around the country, UNICEF is supporting the Back to Learning campaign, which aims to reach one million conflict-affected primary school–aged children in all 14 governorates.

Education supplies, which, in addition to school bags, include 5, 000 teaching–learning kits, 3, 000 recreation kits, and 800 early childhood education kits, have been delivered to Damascus, Homs, Idleb, Tartous, Ar-Raqqa, Deir ez Zour, Quneitra and Rural Damascus governorates.

Back to Learning has been possible, in part, because of the generous support of Kuwait, which has provided more than US$3 million towards the campaign.

© UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2013/Sonoda
Displaced children continue their education beneath a UNICEF-provided tent classroom, in Tartous. The ongoing conflict has left almost 4, 000 schools – or about one in five – damaged, destroyed or sheltering internally displaced families.

Essential supplies

As part of the campaign, each child receives a UNICEF school bag that contains learning supplies: notebooks, ballpoint pens, pencils, erasers, colouring pencils and a set of rulers.

For children displaced by the conflict, who may have left their homes in a hurry with little more than their clothing, these supplies are essential for them to continue their education.

“I am happy to receive this bag, ” says Muhammad, 9, who fled Aleppo with his family a year ago and now goes to school in Tartous. “When I was in Aleppo, I had no chance to go to school. School was closed due to conflict.”

Addressing the straining schools of Tartous

Tartous is a relatively peaceful area in the west that has witnessed the arrival of waves of children and families displaced by fighting in governorates including Aleppo, Homs and Idleb.

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