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A resilient seven years into the Syrian crisis, Syrians have been calling for more sustainable solutions to support their livelihoods and generate income. Affected people have exhausted their resources and still remain with little or no opportunity to re-build their livelihoods. Host communities are also overstretched, putting significant stress on basic services as a result of increasing demands. Unemployment has skyrocketed while towns have been abandoned due to the limited availability and high cost of commodities, soaring fuel prices, and damage to infrastructure, insecurity, and the closure of markets. It is estimated that one in three inhabitants of urban areas is an internally displaced people with a majority of school aged children and youth, many of whom have lost opportunities for education, protection, participation and the perspective of a dignified future. Many girls had to drop their education either to work or due to the cost of education.

To address this challenge my team and I implemented an initiative called ‘’Eelitna’’ to provide the internally displaced families with psychological, financial, and educational support, and empower girls. In addition to this, we provided catch up classes for children and youth to follow their peers attend school on a daily thereby believing in the value of creating a non-lost generation even in the dire situation in Syria. Furthermore, most poverty- stricken internally displaced families prioritize boys’ education and do not have enough money to pay for girls’ school fees, and frequently rely on girls to generate family income, or do chores, or care for younger siblings. As a result, for young females, in addition to the normal classes, we provided hand-crafted workshops during weekends to make perfume candles to sell them in the market due to the heavy demand on candles. This is because of the recurrent electricity cuts in the city. This income allows those females to support their education and become independent from their family.

We were able to enable 30 young females to go back to school desks and follow up with their peers. The challenge was to create an environment where females can receive equal education like their male peers within a conservative community. In a society where tradition puts restrictions for females on education, we worked hard to design programs, workshops, and lectures in collaboration with specialists. We also provided lectures to the parents raising awareness on the importance of education for their kids and especially a mindset shift for females.

In order to reach more females and help them to find educational opportunities whenever and wherever they are, I am working on establishing an online educational platform. This platform will create a network of experts that believe in the values of gender equality in education, in order to provide females with online courses and career guidance while also engaging with scholarship providers.

 

More on Bushra: http://youngleadersfordev.org/author/bushra-dabbagh/

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