This school year we have sponsored 35 children to a Syrian school in Istanbul and that has given us great hope. But when we started meeting the families we realized that scholarships to school were not enough. Helping to create an environment at home conducive to studying and supporting the families with basic need items is also necessary.
We recently visited one such family where we are sponsoring 4 children. The extended family group is 11 people, including 8 children and 2 pregnant women, all living in two dilapidated, cold rooms. Their father was an electrician in Aleppo but because of language problems he works as a removalist, he is the only wage earner in the family. The family seriously considering sending 14 year old Mahmoud, their oldest son, to work in a factory. They would like for him to stay in school but are forced to make difficult decisions for the benefit of the family as a whole.
Thanks to generous donations, these intelligent, lively children are attending school.
Mahmoud 14 y/o, 7th Grade (the child most at risk of being sent to work).
Abdeljalil 12 y/o, 5th Grade (also a possible candidate for work in textiles).
Yassine 10 y/o, 4th Grade with their baby brother.
Khadija 6 y/o, 2nd Grade.
Due to the ongoing war the children have missed out on nearly 3 years of schooling in Syria though the parents did organise some private tuition in that time. Mahoud in particular suffers from ongoing nightmares in relation to the bombing they experienced.
Their apartment is in very bad condition. It is infested with rats and scorpions and the roof leaks badly, and there are holes in the floor. There is a 3rd room which cannot be used because of the damp. While the rent is 500 TL (about US$150) per month the father earns barely 1000TL. With limited resources they are forced to decide between paying for food, fuel for heating and utilities, leaving them sometimes without key items or services. They receive no assistance from any Government or non-Government agency though they are registered and can access health services.
Winter in Istanbul is cold and wet with periods of snow.The children have little more than the clothes on their backs and and certainly not enough for coming winter temperatures. The scene is set for a miserable time of cold and sickness for all and a further spin into the cycle of despair.
There are thousands of families like this in Istanbul trying to eke out an existence, used and abused by the world around them and at the mercy of greedy landlords and a labour market with an insatiable appetite for cheap, nimble child labour. We are committed to identifying families in need and supporting them in their efforts towards a basic standard of living. No child should have to live in these conditions.
We are sourcing clothes, household goods, and food in addition to accepting donations towards home repairs, heating, and other basic need items. Please donate to our winter fund and take part in supporting a bright future for these children displaced by war and struggling with all we take for granted. See https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/education-support-for-syrian-families-in-crisis