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Broken Promises for Syria’s Children

Last February, at a meeting in London, international donors promised to get all of Syria’s refugee children into school by the end of 2017, and pledged $1.4 billion to make it happen. Six months later, that promise is about to be broken, dashing the hopes of millions of Syrian children.

LONDON – If you ever lose faith in the power of hope, not to mention the importance of never giving up, remind yourself of the story of Mohammed Kosha. A 16-year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, Mohammed has overcome obstacles that most of us cannot even imagine, in order to excel in his education. World leaders should take note.

Four years ago, Mohammed and his family fled their home in the town of Darya, a suburb of Damascus, to escape relentless bombardment by Syrian armed forces. Having already lost a year of primary education in his hometown, where it was simply too dangerous to attend school, he then spent another year out of the classroom when the family arrived in Lebanon, where they now reside.

Mohammed’s life changed when Lebanon’s government opened the country’s public schools to refugees. Classes were not only crowded; they were also conducted in English, meaning that he would have to learn a new language. But Mohammed seized the opportunity to learn, and threw himself into his studies. Last month, against all odds, he scored the second-highest marks in Lebanon’s Brevet secondary-school exam. And he is not done yet.

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