86% of the world's refugees seek refuge in under-developed and developing countries. In these countries where vital needs of refugee families are barely met, they are not able to prioritize education. In the current situation, due to insufficient resources, lack of adequate teachers and curriculum refugee children are 5 times less likely to continue their education as non refugee children. In addition, the refugee children who work contribute a significant portion to the household income which increasingly leads to these kids losing access to a real childhood and proper education. Thousands of children who have been living in Turkey for more than five years, constitute a lost generation.
Temporary Education Centers is a system designed to educate Syrian children living in Turkey, with a Syrian curriculum. This is based on the idea that these children should be able to continue their education when they return to Syria. However, given the fact that we have completed the sixth year of the Syrian civil war, and considering the period required to make Syria habitable again even if the war ended today, makes it necessary to integrate Syrian children into the Turkish education system. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of National Education has recently decided to close the Temporary Education Centers and started the educational integration in certain regions. Still in places such as Istanbul, where both the majority of the refugee population, as well as the Turkish population is concentrated, integration has not been fully implemented. This is due to problems with infrastructure inadequacy and social integration. The critical implication of this failure is that refugee children are not on track with their Turkish peers.
While there are no legal barriers for refugee children to be registered in Official Government Schools, due to language and communication problems, lack of knowledge of requirements, and financial issues, it’s difficult for families to assess this option. A child who goes to a Government School will continuously need support for potential language and adaptation problems, which will occur in the process of social integration; not to mention the material needs such as transportation and school uniforms. Therefore, involvement of the families who do not speak Turkish can only be limited in this process.
There are 300 children living in Istanbul's Eyüp district, whose education has been interrupted this way. We have been closely observing the educational status of these children for 2 years with our various social responsibility projects. The uncertainty of their future and the years they spent without a qualified education motivated us to move forward. For this reason, in the fall of 2017, in accordance with the wishes of refugee children and their families 25 children have been chosen to be registered into Government Schools. They were chosen for having demonstrated potential for integration into these school, as well as adequate Turkish language skills.
In this campaign that we have been operating in collaboration with school principals and refugee families, the students require two kinds of support in this challenging period.
1.Support for Education And Integration:
Through a social responsibility organization called the Bond Project, we are providing periodic support to the students to improve their Turkish language skills as well as their homework assignments. This project is being run by our volunteers who have been working with the students for the past two years.
We are mainly hoping to cover the fees for school buses which on average cost $45 monthly. Other kind of school expenditures (lunch, stationery, uniform etc.) costs monthly $10 per child. For our 25 students, these two expenses for a school year that lasts 8 months adds up to $11.000.
- Accelerating the process of social integration for refugee children by transitioning them to the Government Schools
- Speeding up Turkish language acquisition for refugee children
- Utilizing the sustainable education opportunity at Government Schools as opposed to the Temporary Education Centers with limited opportunities and no continuity
- Making life normal again for these children by registering them in the publically accepted official schooling system
- We see this project as a start to a much larger goal which is to help them become fully integrated individuals and give them a chance to make life socially and financially better for themselves and their families
If more than the targeted amount is collected, donations will be directed to the Bond Project expenditures.