Refugee children Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Schools of Hope

For children in much of the world, the summer holiday has arrived. But many refugee children will spend it working to bring in small amounts of income for their families, or sitting idle in unfamiliar cities or camps – the same way they spent the school year.

LONDON – Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day, when we honor the strength and courage of those who have been forced to flee their homes. Today I will be thinking of Mohammed, a Syrian refugee whom I met when I visited Istoc Primary School in Turkey last month.

In a bustling school, already full to bursting to accommodate a large local population, I watched Mohammed at the back of the classroom, intent on finishing an art project. The class was drawing artifacts from museums and holding a lively discussion about the importance of preserving culture and heritage.

Mohammed stopped to explain how his classmates had helped him learn their language, and how he was catching up on lessons after fleeing his war-torn country to settle in Istanbul. But his dream is to have the chance to return home one day, and he is determined to study hard now to gain the knowledge and skills needed to build a new future there.

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