The International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the UN organization UNICEF recently signed an agreement for the provision of a protective learning environment for internally displaced children in the governorate of Lattakia funded by the Government of Kuwait.
"IOM will in turn contribute 12 refurbished shipping containers that UNICEF will use as classrooms for the benefit of 1,000 displaced school children", said the IOM a press release from its headquarters in Geneva.
The UN estimates that 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria, of whom 3.5 million are children. Education provides a track of hope and support for children to re-build their lives even in displacement sites.
IOM's provision of 12 refurbished shipping containers to UNICEF is funded by the Government of Kuwait and aimED to provide displaced children with a safe learning environment that is equipped with gender-sensitive sanitation facilities.
The crisis in Syria has had a deep impact on children's lives. Twenty-five percent of schools have been damaged, destroyed or used as public shelters, leaving almost TWO million children unable to attend school across Syria, according to Syria's 2015 Strategic Response Plan, due to escalating violence and indiscriminate attacks that daily place children in extreme danger.
As the conflict enters its fourth year, there are estimates of some 2.1 to 2.4 million children in Syria who are not enrolled or attend school irregularly according to UNICEF's Syria Crisis monthly report from November 2014. The reasons are many: Insecurity, deceased or absent teachers, or destroyed schools. Additionally, the hardship of living for displaced people increases the chances of negative coping mechanisms including child labour and forced early marriages.
There are endless stories about children giving up school to help provide for their families and in a few cases, children even being forced to pick up arms. "In our partnership with UNICEF, we hope to provide vulnerable boys and girls who are internally displaced and are out of school, equitable access to quality learning opportunities in a safe environment," stressed Moutaz Adham, IOM's Emergency and Support Officer.
Upon the completion of the project IOM, along with UNICEF, will donate the classrooms to the Ministry of Education in an attempt to increase enrolment of children who currently reside in Lattakia's Sports City, now being used as public shelter where an estimated 7,400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are hosted including some 1,300 children.
IOM conversion works of the shipping containers include preparing openings in the walls for window and door functions, providing windows and door panels, thermal insulation of walls and floors, as well as installation of electrical wiring.
In 2015, IOM plans to rehabilitate partially damaged schools in Syria in addition to providing pre-fab rooms for educational purposes meeting the needs of 41,000 affected children by the crisis.