In March, 2015 Bridge of Peace Syria Executive Director Hamsa Kurth Newmark along with her husband Moshe attended a three day all Syria conference in Washington, D.C. A recurrent theme was a strong emphasis on the need for education in Syria where a rapidly growing generation of children has never attended school.
In May of this year Hamsa began a dialog with Abdulkader Almurie, co-founder and manager of the Alwan Kindergarten in Hass, Idlib Provence Syria, a school that services up to 120 students between the ages of 4-8 years old. In July, Bridge of Peace Syria began funding part of the schools’ operations and needs. This is a very exciting project for BOPS as it takes our humanitarian aid beyond the basics of feeding and clothing refugee children and invests efforts toward what we see will one day become basis for a free Syria. Here is the mission of the Alwan (which means colors) Kindergarten:
“Alwan School is an educational establishment in Hass/Idlib, Syria. The school serves as a center for both education and psychological support for children who have lived with war and who suffer its effects; to make them smile and see the world in a more beautiful way and with an open mind.
The priority given to education includes English, Arabic, drawing, music, science mathematics and Quran. The teachers are university graduates who work as volunteers with no salary, just to make children happy.”
The school teaches displaced children that come from neighboring villages, most having had to flee from northern Hamaa where they were bombed and shelled everyday from regime aircraft; approximately a dozen of them are martyr children or orphans.
In Abdullkader’s own words, here are more details about the Alwan Kindergarten.
“I, along with three of my university graduate friends, rented a building and paid for the first three months rent out of our own pockets. We painted the walls with fun images for children, purchased some school supplies (pens, pencils, paper, crayons etc. ), some desks and boards were already there, and began the school with the hopes of finding a donor as I do not have another job and am unable to further support the school beyond the first three months.
The school is in session four days a week, from Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00am – Noon. We organize the transportation of the children to and from school in order so they can attend and return home safely . Beside the lessons the children receive, they also have psychological class where two women teachers play games with the children, sing with them, draw and try to see what is happening in their life, discussing how to turn their thinking from their bad life experience to a more positive view of life. This is the most important thing for these children.
We have a total of eight teachers, including two psychological teachers and as the manager of the school I am responsible for the teachers, lessons and plans, I also teach English when I am not too busy. I have daily meetings with the teachers where we talk about their needs and the problems they face and see how we can make the school better.”
Bridge of Peace Syria is currently paying for the school’s monthly rent, some of the school supplies, water for the children to drink and for the transportation of the children to and from the school; we hope to expand funding to also supply them with expanded school supplies and a nourishing lunch for each child. We hope that you will support BOPS as we continue to help these refugee children. It is an investment in their future and in the building of a free society in Syria. bit.ly/BOPSyriaDonate Photos courtesy of Alwan School