|Viviane junto a dos de las niñas con las que trabaja|
Con motivo del día del refugiado os dejamos las reflexiones de Viviane Schönbächler
Estudiante del Master de la Paz en la Universitat Jaume I (UJI) Castellón, está pasando el año en Reynhali, en la frontera turca con Siria trabajando con personas refugiadas entre ellas, niños y niñas.
Con ella hemos trabajado junto a nuestros niños y niñas del proyecto Pececitos del Grao de Castellón en un intercambio.
Recogemos en este blog el testimonio de Viviane. Gracias a ella podemos vivir de primera mano qué ocurre en la frontera en estos tiempos tan difíciles.
The first time I went to Reyhanli was actually to teach English. I was asked by a small Swiss NGO to teach English for different levels. There were beginners, intermediate, and advanced. The age ranged from 10-60 and most of them were Syrians however, there were also some Turkish students.
I stayed in touch with them and when I came to Castellon I checked if people would be into winter clothes collection to send to Syria. At the beginning everyone doubted that people will give many things, but at the end we sent 3 containers of winter clothes, toys and school material, and two ambulances to Syria in two years.
|Una niña con un casco blanco, símbolo de la defensa civil siria|
In these two years I went back to Reyhanli 4-5 times. Together with other students from the peace master we also organised a workshop on filmmaking and communication for peace for Syrians.
Now I work part time for a Syrian organisation that works in humanitarian aid inside Syria. I also do a part time research internship with the Swiss NGO GeoExpertise in which I incorporate my master thesis on the role of civil society in civilian protection in Syria.
When talking to Syirans, the frustrating and desperate situation for the children (future generation) comes up all the time. Many children haven’t been to school for some years at least. There are many reasons that led to them leaving schools: destruction of schools, closer of schools because of security situation, displacement, they have to work to support the families, they join armed groups, girls get married before finishing school …
I will give you some examples:
|Intercambio de imágenes con niños y niñas del Grao|
- Hussein, 9 or 10, he didn’t go to school anymore in Syria when the situation was too bad. He helped his family in the bakery they opened after their factory and shops have been destroyed (they had a diary factory producing cheese and yogurt). With the presence of many armed factions and the glorification of fighters, more and more of his friends joined armed groups until he also wanted to join an armed group. Then his father decided to send him to Reyhanli, where hussein’s older brother lives, in order for his son to finish school and not join the fighters.
- Jawdat, 18, was 13 when the revolution started and he left school to join the revolutionary movements, worked in media and finally, after he was threatened by armed groups and Syria was not safe anymore, he went to Reyhanli. After 4 years out of school, he finally decided to go back to school, even if it is not easy and to finish the baccalaureate.
- In Syria, teachers try to protect children from the psychological trauma of bombings by taking them to a relatively safe room when planes are coming and play loud music so that they do not hear the bombs. But unfortunately this alone cannot limit the impact of the war on children. Many children are afraid, shy and introverted because of the war.
- Another child, 4 years old, reconstructed her old home with lego. But she put wheels under it. When asked why she put wheels on a house, she replied: Like this, at least we can take our house wherever we go.
|We love you too|
Problems in Education
The main problem of education for Syrians, in Reyhanli, are the funding conditions. Many schools depend on one single donor, often from the Gulf states. I know some girls who were preparing for their final exams (baccalaureat) but some weeks before the exams, the school which was funded by a Libyan donor had to close because funding was cut. So they had to do the last year again in another school.
Donors often impose their own curriculum. Education is a powerful political tool, therefore, it is very difficult to work in education (schools have also been closed in Syria by armed groups because their curriculum didn’t fit into the faction’s ideas). Also in Turkey coordination between schools is very difficult because of the politicization of education.
In summary: education is crucial for the future and safety of children. However, at it is used as a political tool it is also dangerous. Nonetheless there are many inspiring young people working in the field of education to protect the children.
¡¡Gracias Viviane por tu testimonio, por estar ahí trabajando por la paz y los derechos de los niños y niñas y gracias por dejarnos compartir tus vivencias, la gente como tú es muy importante para IW!!