Syrian refugees, Mohammed & Hazar, are thankful for their school
Imagine having to leave your home with only the clothes on your back. This is what happened to Hazar, a teacher at a school in the Middle East that serves Syrian refugee children. Hazar and her family had to flee Syria four years ago to escape the war and constant bombings.
Hazar’s story is not unlike the stories of many Syrian refugees who were forced to leave their homes and the lives they had built together. Often, these families were forced to separate along the way, not knowing if they would ever see their loved ones again. This is the case for Mohammed, a young boy who’s father was separated, leaving Mohammed to support his family.
The good news is that Syrian refugees like Hazar and Mohammed are finding hope and opportunity through your support. Your gifts to One Day’s Wages are impacting the lives of Syrian refugees through access to quality education–providing not just important learning opportunities–but safe spaces that create a renewed sense of normalcy in their lives.
Mohammed is a precocious 13 year old with an easy smile. His father moved Mohammed and his five siblings away from Syria about three-and-a-half years ago. Mohammed remembers how they came to the border and saw the soldiers patrolling. They hid for a while and once the soldiers moved on, they were able to safely cross.
Once they found a place to stay, Mohammed’s father had to go back to Syria because of his job. His employer had threatened to erase his pension if he didn’t continue working. Since going back, his father hasn’t been able to send any money to the family. This has meant that the burden of supporting his mother and siblings fell on Mohammed and his younger brother.
The two brothers started working in a factory six days a week making t-shirts. As tailor’s assistants, they help sew, fetch supplies, and do anything else the tailor might need.
In spite of working long hours and the pressure of supporting the family, Mohammed is happy because he has a school to go to. He and his brother have been attending a school that is supported by One Day’s Wages.
Mohammed says that he loves watching science videos in class. One time his teacher took their class to a local science museum. He loved seeing the robot exhibition and their model of a solar system. After visiting the museum they went to a park to play games as a class. Experiences like this are really meaningful for Mohammed, because he doesn’t get a lot of time to play and just be a kid.
Each morning, he and his brother attend school until 2pm, and then run over to the tailor shop to work until 7 or 8 at night. This makes it hard to keep up on homework, or even just find time to rest and play with friends. Even with this reality though, Mohammed says that the work is not too bad and being able to make t-shirts or pajamas that get sold in the local bazaar is better than a lot of other jobs they could be doing.
Mohammed says he is really happy that there is a school which he can attend, and he hopes to continue going there for as long as he can.
As a teacher, Hazar hopes to train and equip Syrian young people for the future. She wants her students to come away from her classroom understanding the importance of humanity–that how they interact with and care for others is what makes them human.
Hazar graduated with a degree in English literature from a university in Syria in 2011. She loves poetry and has written seven books of poems and a couple play scripts.
Her journey out of Syria was very difficult. She is amazed that it has already been four years since she made the long, dangerous trip out. Her family has settled into their new home though, and she and her husband have good jobs. The Syrian community that is present in the city she lives in now, in some ways makes her feel like she is back home in Syria.
Hazar loves teaching her first graders at the school and especially enjoys teaching in Arabic. She feels it is important that even as foreigners in a new land, the children remember where they come from. Afterall, the rebuilding of Syria will be in their hands.
Hazar has big dreams for her students, and for herself. She’s thankful for her new life and has come to love her new home. She is especially excited for others to read her poetry and hopes that it will impact people positively.
Thanks to your support, we were able to partner with World Relief and local churches in the Middle East to enable Mohammed and Hazar’s school to continue providing quality education for Syrian refugee children. This school is a source of hope and opportunity for these children and their families. It’s helping create a safe place for them to call home.
If you’d like to support our current efforts to provide relief for Syrian refugees click here.
Melissa Pack is the Communications Director at One Day’s Wages. She lives in Seattle with her husband and papillon.
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