ADIYAMAN, Turkey, 3 November 2013 – There are many reasons why children don’t go to school. Not having shoes is rarely one of them.
Yet, for many Syrian children living in Turkey’s refugee camps, lack of warm clothes can make or break their academic future.
As temperatures go down, getting children the warm clothes they need is an absolute priority. That’s why UNICEF, with generous support from the State of Kuwait and other donors, is currently distributing 80,000 pairs of shoes to school-aged children in 20 refugee camps across Turkey.
Recently, at a child-friendly space in this camp, Hussein, 14, received his new shoes as his younger brother Macit, just 5, looked on with envy. “When I start school I will have a new pair of shoes too,” said the younger sibling.
Their mother Nada, who fled with them to Turkey from Aleppo, says that education is crucial – although she admits that she didn’t think so at first.
“When we first arrived here, we were mostly focused on surviving. We didn’t really think about the children’s education,” she says. “But life has to go on and my children’s learning cannot wait indefinitely. For us, education is as crucial as saving lives.”
Turkey is now home to half a million Syrian refugees, nearly 60 per cent of them children. Their needs are huge – going from education, health and nutrition to protection and survival.
“As the needs continue to increase, we rely on the support of our donors to help the children of Syria overcome the horrors of war and displacement,” said Ayman Abu-Laban, UNICEF Representative in Turkey. “We are particularly grateful to the State of Kuwait for its generous contribution to these efforts.”
A Kuwaiti donation of $3 million to UNICEF’s programmes for Syrian refugees in Turkey is helping create child friendly spaces in refugee camps as well as purchase winter clothes, nutritional food, school furniture and water purification tablets.
This donation is part of a $55 million Kuwait grant that went to UNICEF programmes inside Syria as well as other countries affected by the Syria crisis.