Syr­ian fam­ily strug­gling to find school for chil­dren

Strug­gle for Syr­i­ans doesn’t end even after they’ve es­caped con­flict

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - sar­wat@7days.ae

They left their home to es­cape civil war and set­tled in the UAE hop­ing for a bet­ter life. But one Syr­ian fam­ily is fac­ing a new bat­tle as they strug­gle to find schools for their chil­dren. Mo­hammed Yaser Al Mousa, 14, moved to Shar­jah five months ago with his fam­ily from Aleppo and fears he and his three sib­lings will not be able to get a place in school this year.

He told 7DAYS: “We are very wor­ried. Our fa­ther makes Dhs8,000 per month and that’s not nearly enough to pay the bills and send all of us to school. We have tried sev­eral schools in Shar­jah and Aj­man that are af­ford­able to us but they are full. There are char­ity schools but they are full too.”

Rad­dah Has­soon spent years pro­tect­ing her four chil­dren as con­flict tore apart their coun­try. Now, she says, she faces a new bat­tle just to give them a “nor­mal life”.

Rad­dah and her fam­ily fled their home in Aleppo five months ago to es­cape the civil war in Syria. They set­tled in Shar­jah, hop­ing for a bet­ter life.

But, while they might have es­caped war, the fam­ily is strug­gling to get the chil­dren into school.

The only schools they can af­ford, “the cheaper schools” in Shar­jah and Aj­man, are al­ready full and the fam­ily say they have been told there are thou­sands of chil­dren on the wait­ing lists.

Rad­dah’s son, Mo­hammed Yaser Al Mousa, 14, dreams of be­com­ing an en­gi­neer, but he will strug­gle to turn his dreams into re­al­ity un­less he re­ceives an ed­u­ca­tion.

His sib­lings, six-year-old Li­las, 11-yearold Mo­hammed Noor and 16-year-old Mo­ham­mad Azhari, also have dreams, but their fu­tures are on hold as they wait for a spot to open up in one the schools their fam­ily can af­ford.

“Some­times I feel like I can still hear the loud noises from the bombs and gun­fire in our city in Syria,” Rad­dah told 7DAYS.

“It makes me sad to see what’s hap­pened to my coun­try, but I feel re­lieved that we have es­caped.

“How­ever, the prob­lems don’t seem to stop. My kids have been sit­ting at home. They read books and I teach them what I can, but they need to go to a proper school. “We moved to Shar­jah be­cause we knew they had cheaper schools here and ones we could some­how pay for, but it’s be­come a night­mare. None of those cheaper schools have space for more stu­dents. The schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are too ex­pen­sive for us.” Mo­hammed added: “We have tried sev­eral schools in Shar­jah and Aj­man, but they are telling us they are full and they can­not take any more stu­dents. Those kinds of schools are our only op­tions be­cause they are af­ford­able for us. There are char­ity schools, but those are full too.

“We are wor­ried we will not be able to go to school this year. Our fa­ther makes Dhs8,000 per month and that’s not nearly enough to pay the bills and send all of us to school.”

One of the schools Mo­hammed’s fam­ily tried to get into was The Na­tional Char­ity School in Aj­man. The prin­ci­pal, Hus­san Khatib, said the school has 2,000 peo­ple on its wait­ing list, while 2,400 stu­dents cur­rently at­tend.

Has­san Ibrahim and his fam­ily are fac­ing the same prob­lem. Their house in Man­bij, Syria, was over­taken by ISIS mil­i­tants and they were dis­placed in Syria for nearly two years.

Has­san has since been able to get his wife and four chil­dren into the UAE, but they have not been to school for two years. They have also been placed on wait­ing lists.

They lost all of their ed­u­ca­tion doc­u­ments after they were forced out of their home and walked eight hours over Turk­ish moun­tains be­fore reach­ing to the UAE, as re­ported by 7DAYS last month.

Has­san said: “We are wait­ing to see if we get a call. My el­dest daugh­ter is sup­posed to be in ninth grade but they have not gone to school for two years.

“If they don’t get ad­mis­sions this year, we’re not sure what we will do. But we are try­ing to stay pos­i­tive.”

‘Our fa­ther makes Dhs8,000 a month - not enough to send us all to school’ – Mo­hammed Yaser , 14

EA­GER TO LEARN: Li­las, six, and Mo­hammed Noor, 11, learn what they can at home. In­set their brother Mo­hammed Yaser, 14

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