“I am the Syrian child who spent two years of her life in terror,” writes 14-year-old Asma, “but I will pass on to you the pinpoint light of hope.” Asma is one of 320 students aged 12 to 18 attending the School of Free Syria, located in the Turkish border town of Rihanli. Its all-volunteer staff nurtures this hope not only by salvaging its students’ disrupted education, but also by innovating it to include citizenship skills necessary in a liberated Syria.
“We also want Syrians to be free,” explains Husam Shehada, co-founder and principal of the school and one of the protesting “Free Lawyers of Aleppo”. So instead of memorizing “a single ideology”, he encourages students to discuss and debate ideas as an experiment in democratic education.
“This didn’t exist in Syria,” he says. “Now we are trying to make it [here].” It is difficult, he adds, because the school’s lack of outside financial support increases teacher turnover. But after shelter, refugees’ main priority is education, “and thank God we can do something.”
For more info – School of Free Syria