UNICEF/ DAMASCUS/ Syrian Arab Republic/ Monica Awad
Resumen: después de dos ataques contra escuelas sirias, niños, profesores y padres buscar el valor de seguir adelante, mientras duelo por la pérdida de nueve estudiantes. El ataque a la escuela era uno de los dos incidentes acontecidos en una semana que terminó con la vida de nueve estudiantes que se encontraban en camino a la escuela o jugando en el patio de la institución educativa. Los dos ataques – uno en Daraa ‘y una en Alepo – ocurrieron con tan sólo dos días de diferencia. Dejaron luto a sus padres y familias, y cientos niños traumatizados.
After two attacks on Syrian schools, children, teachers and parents search for the courage to move forward while grieving the loss of nine students.
Jaffar lost his older sister and mentor Aya during last week’s attack on That al-Netaqeen primary school in Daraa’.
The attack on the school was one of two incidents within a week that ended the lives of nine students who were on their way to school or playing in the schoolyard. The two attacks – one in Daraa’ and one in Aleppo – were only two days apart. They left behind mourning parents and families and hundreds of grieving and traumatized children.
Yet while shelling shattered the morning roll call and left craters in playgrounds, students remain more committed than ever to continue their learning.
“I am determined to go back to That al-Netaqeen primary school,” says Jaffar with a trembling voice. “I owe it to my sister Aya, who told me before she was killed that ninth grade is easy, as long as you continue to study.”
Jaffar is one of the millions of children in the Syrian Arab Republic who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing violence.
Parents are also overwhelmed, and feel powerless to protect their children from the inhumanity of conflict.
“I rushed like crazy out of class, and saw my son lying on the floor, his tiny body covered with blood, his leg and arm severed,” says Samah, a school teacher at That al-Netaqeen primary school. “I realized that I lost my son forever, and all I could do was hold him in my arms, and rush him to the nearest hospital.”
As a mother and a teacher, Samah was devastated by her loss, yet courageous enough to go back to the school and help rescue other students. But she has been left shocked, almost rendered mute by the experience.“We can no longer protect our children,” she says.In Aleppo, what seemed to be a relatively calm Thursday turned out to be another day mired in violence. Only a few minutes after Rima and Zahraa bid their four children goodbye to go to Hatem al Taai primary school, a mortar attack hit the area killing all four children.The intensity of this tragic incident for Rima, Zahraa and their families is unbearable.Both primary schools – That al-Netaqeen and Hatem al Taai – are supported by UNICEF through the back-to-learning campaign launched at the beginning of the school year in September. The campaign aims to get all children back in school, providing them with stationery and books, recreational activities and community outreach initiatives.Incredible resilienceThere is no safe place in the Syrian Arab Republic, yet determined children are constantly risking their lives to go to school.
Those who survive are not spared from the brutality of the crisis. They witness dreadful acts of violence that no child should ever see, leaving them permanently scarred.As a fifth grade student at that al-Netaqeen primary school, Raghad witnessed an attack on her classmates. “I am scared and I cannot sleep at night, but I want to continue learning at That al-Netaqeen primary school,” she mumbles with a courage that is heartbreaking.Despite the brutalities that children like Raghad are witnessing, their determination and passion for life is remarkable. “I want to grow up to become a paediatrician to help the injured children,” she says.Investing in Syrian children is now more critical than ever.
“We cannot let millions of children like Jaffar and Raghad down. We owe it to each and every child in Syria to protect them from the daily and harsh realities of war,” says Hanaa Singer, Representative UNICEF in Syria.Parents’ perseverance is unimaginable, reflecting and reinforcing their children’s determination and passion for life. Like most Syrian mothers, despite her loss, Samah dreams of a better future for her children.“All I can say is that these children deserve a better life, and as a mother and a teacher, I must work hard to secure it for them.”