A journey through conflict lines towards a better future
Antwan Chnkdji and Yasmine Saker
Aleppo, Syria, 26 August 2020- Having traveled long distances and crossed conflict lines to achieve their dreams for a better future, over 1,000 brave boys and girls arrived in Aleppo city in June to sit for their national Grade 12 exams. Coming from hard-to-reach areas in rural Aleppo including Manbij, Albab, Azaz, Ain Alarab and Jarablus, some of them spent over 48 hours on the road.
Working with partners and other UN agencies, and thanks to generous contributions from Japan, Canada and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), UNICEF provided the students with support including remedial classes to prepare for the exams, bursaries to help cover transportation costs, the provision of stationery and learning materials, as well as psychosocial support through group and one-on-one sessions. Children and chaperoning teachers also received mine risk education to ensure their safety when returning to their war-ravaged areas where explosive hazards are prevalent.
To ensure a comfortable stay for students, UNICEF also prepared 10 accommodation centres in the governorate through rehabilitation of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, provision of safe drinking water, installation of windows and doors, and maintenance of electricity. To guarantee the safety of students amidst COVID-19 concerns, UNICEF undertook daily sanitation of the accommodation centres and over 480 exam centres.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities