For the 11-year-old Muhannad, going to school again was something hard to imagine. Living in the heavily war affected area of eastern part of Aleppo made him stop school for more than three years.
Muhannad was never enthusiastic about studying. However, at a very young age he knew that he was losing his future by being deprived of school for more than three years. Muhannad was very sad and embarrassed that his level of reading was similar to that of first graders. He had no idea how long he will stay without education, especially that all schools in eastern Aleppo were partially or totally destroyed during the war.
The escalation of fighting in Aleppo during Syrian the war made Muhannad lose his home and school, but the biggest loss for him was when he lost his mother in 2015 due to the poor medical support and to the significant regression in the health services sector. That year was very hard for Muhannad, the youngest child in a family of three children and their father. He had to move from one shelter to another with his family seeking a safe place in eastern Aleppo. Additionally, he suffered from depression because he could not overcome the loss of his mother.
When I was standing in front of the school gate on the first day of school, I thought I was dreaming. If only my mother knew how much I am happy now
In 2018, Muhannad’s father decided to go back to their neighborhood in Al Sukkri and to stay with one of their relatives. He was encouraged by the news of Althawra school rehabilitation by SOS Children’s Villages. The school rehabilitation and the improvement of the security situation in eastern Aleppo revived Al Sukkari Neighborhood and made displaced families return hoping to enroll their children in the school.
After he registered in the School, Muhannad realized that time has come to make up for his missing school years. At first, he will go through a test to determine his educational level. Then, he will enroll in a class with a special education curriculum where he will study two academic years in one. This special curriculum aims to reduce the educational dropout in Syria.
When he passed the school gate, Muhannad saw a sign that says “Althawra School was renovated by SOS children's villages in 2018”, he felt very happy. The sign made him remember special moments that he spent during his displacement journey at one of SOS child friendly spaces in Aleppo city. Through these spaces, SOS Children’s Villages provided psychological support that helped Muhannad and many other children to overcome the hardships of war and displacement.
The renovation of Al-Thawra School was finished in September 2018. The school will allow up to 1,800 children to return to school and have their right for education. This initiative was one of SOS emergency response projects in Aleppo that aimed to protect children’s fundamental rights and to provide displaced families with daily essential needs.
*The name of the child was changed to protect his privacy