syrian refugee children education Ameer Al-Halbi/ZumaPress

Reading, Writing, and Refugees

Normally in an emergency, there are no facilities, buildings, or staff to keep displaced children in school. What is missing in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, however, are not classrooms or trained teachers – there are plenty locally and among adult Syrian refugees – but the money to pay for them.

LONDON – Just days ago, Abdul al-Kader, his four-year-old daughter, Abdelillah, draped over his shoulders, was photographed standing at a dangerous intersection in Beirut, trying to sell biro pens to feed his family. The image of this Syrian refugee family’s plight, tweeted by a Norwegian, Gissur Simonarson, immediately went viral.

Within a day or two, £100,000 ($154,000) was raised to help Abdul, Abdelillah, and her nine-year-old sister, Reem. When asked what he would do with the money, Abdul said he would use it to educate his children and their friends.

The story of Abdul and his children highlights an obvious, if overlooked, truth: Far from seeking to scrounge off Europe, thousands of Syrian exiles are desperate to return home as soon as it is safe. It is sheer desperation that is forcing them to embark on life-threatening voyages.

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