KAHRAMANMARAŞ, April 22, 2015 – A new education centre for Syrian children was officially opened in Kahramanmaraş today. The UNICEF-supported education centre was built in partnership with the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Ministry of National Education, with financial support from the European Commission.
With a total capacity of 1,080 students, the centre has 12 classrooms: 10 for primary education and two for pre-school education. Education will be delivered in Arabic and will follow the Syrian curriculum.It will provide a safe environment in which Syrian children can access mother-tongue education and can also socialise. Furthermore, the project will provide opportunities and incentives for Syrian teachers to remain engaged in education initiatives for their community.
With the conflict in Syria now in its fifth year, two million Syrian children are living as refugees in neighbouring countries. The total number of Syrians living in Turkey exceeds 1.7 million, half of whom are children, with almost 600,000 of school age.
In Turkey, UNICEF supports the efforts of the Ministry of National Education, AFAD, local authorities, and other stakeholders to provide quality education to children of all ages in camp and non-camp settings. In addition to the Kahramanmaraş centre, UNICEF has so far supported the establishment of 27 education centres. Another four new centres, with 24 classrooms each, are currently under construction in partnership with AFAD and the Ministry of National Education.
“Through opening education centres like this one, we aim to help bring Syrian children and teachers back to schools, many of whom have not had access to any form of education for the past three to four years. By doing so, we are helping to empower and give greater opportunities to a younger generation that will help rebuild Syria when the conflict ends”, said Mr Béla Szombati, Chargé d’affaires of the Delegation of the European Union in Turkey.
At the opening ceremony for the Kahramanmaraş Temporary Education Centre, Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Turkey declared: “Education is one of the most critical interventions to prevent the loss of a generation of Syrian children. It is imperative to continue investing in their future by giving them opportunities to access quality education and learn in a safe environment”.
Through the EU Children of Peace initiative, the EU aims to help turn “children of war” into “children of peace”. The initiative funds humanitarian projects for children in conflict regions, providing them with access to education as well as with psychological support to heal their traumatic war experiences.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work please visit www.unicef.org.tr
About EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. The European Commission’s Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. ECHO is one of the most important UNICEF donors.For more information, please visitwww.ec.europa.eu/echo.
For further information, please contact:
- Sema Hosta, Chief of Communication, UNICEF in Turkey, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.:+90 312 454 1010
- Sumbul EREN, Press Officer of the Delegation of the EU to Turkey, email@example.com, Tel.: +90 3124598727
- Caroline Gluck, ECHO Regional Information Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: + 962 6 460 7037