Syrian Educational Crisis

Children desperate to learn.


The Turkish Ministry of Education is failing to provide Syrian children with their fundamental right to learn. More than half-million Syrian children aren’t enrolled in school. In most cases, those who are fortunate enough to attend class can't afford the tuition fees, transportation, or needed school supplies. 

Failing to provide Syrian children with education puts an entire generation at risk.
— Stephanie Gee Bernstein HRW

Consequently, this has forced many children into the Turkish workforce where Human Rights Watch says child labor is “rampant."

“Many children are working the informal sectors — washing dishes, carrying tea trays and selling tissues on the street,” said Daryl Grisgraber, a senior advocate at Refugees International. “Children work behind the scenes in the service industry. We also heard a lot about children working in the textile industry.”

UNICEF is strongly encouraging educational reform in Turkey and that The Turkish Ministry of Education to develop new programs for Syrian children. While the international community and several organizations have provided financial aid and other resources, there simply isn't enough schools. 

But, in every story, there is a hero. While she cannot solve the educational crisis in Turkey on her own. Maisa Al-Hafez, an educator in Istanbul, teaches music, dance, and games at a local park to Syrian children caught between school or money. Giving some Syrian refugees a glimmer of hope and a chance to learn.     

Photo of Maisa Al-Hafez by: Dominique Bonessi

Photo of Maisa Al-Hafez by: Dominique Bonessi


More information on the crisis here:
Turkey: 400,000 Syrian Children Not in School"
by Human Rights Watch

Paraphrased and inspired by: 
“Better Life? Syrian kids in Turkey must go to work, not school” 
by Dominique Bonessi, USA Today