We lost hope

December 1, 2016

Not really. We lost a school called Hope in Aleppo. Three hundred and three children used to go there.

We have been working on education in Aleppo for four years now, obsessed with the details. First we wrote down everything that happened to us while we were kids – being made to shout slogans for the president, Hafez al-Assad back then. Being made to shout slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood – as a kid you don’t know why you need to shout for someone’s death. We wrote down how we were violently disciplined, and more.

And we went into these details trying to write the perfect policies for our new schools. Obsessed with not imposing any ideological agendas on the next generation. Adding days for creative activities that can be done in the basement because a playground is a luxury when schools are targets of Russia and the Assad regime. Tracking girls who drop out, visiting families who prevents their daughters from going to school.

This year, our plan was to go even further – we wanted to reach out to children with disabilities. No public school in Syria before the revolution thought of integrating kids with disabilities. We started to plan training for the teachers on the topic, we started to calculate how much it would cost to transform the buildings to be more accessible. The price of the material needed kept changing dramatically due to the siege. But we kept going.

Two days, ago the regime took our Hope school. And it is terrifying to think how the students are going to be forced back to shouting slogans celebrating the life of a president who wanted to kill them.

Two days ago, we lost a school called Hope. But we keep going, looking for new kids who have no school to build hope for them. We keep going, updating our security and our programs. We keep going, with faith in our right for a better tomorrow. We keep going, asking ourselves, what else can be done?

Meanwhile, what about you?

[See Marcell Shehwaro’s Facebook post.]

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