As the Syrian tragedy mounts day by day, it threatens the future of an entire generation. The violence is preventing nearly 3 million children from getting an education, pushing them further into the the arms of militant groups. This educational crisis has been a priority to many civil society organizations like The Day After that launched a grassroots campaign recently, aiming at "spreading awareness among young generations and helping children and teachers find their way back to school," the campaign's operators explain to SyriaUntold.
We Want to Learn campaign first started in Daraa and Idlib governorates, and has reached Western Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus and other cities and villages.
In Daraa, activists discussed the campaign's plan with experts in the field of psychology and counseling, to guarantee the campaign's utmost impact and influence. They held meetings with parents of school-aged children and explained the objectives of the campaign.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) had hindered the progress of the campaign in Daraa but when activists met with some of the soldiers and explained the principles and goals of the initiative. "They were very cooperative and welcomed these ideas," they report.
In Idlib on the other hand, activists interviewed secretaries in schools, to collect data on the condition of schools in the city. They also handed out hundreds flyers and pamphlets about the importance of education, encouraging parents to send their children to school.
What placed more difficulties in the face of the campaign was the ceaseless bombardment on the two cities, which forced the campaign's operators to give seminars in basements and shelters.
The Ministry of Education of the Interim Government did not collaborate with The Day After in launching the campaign. However, the campaign's operators in Daraa will report the issues they have witnessed to the Syrian Interim Government.
"We have noted the technical problems we encountered working on this campaign, like the insufficiency of the teaching staff and the need to rehabilitate a number of the schools," says an activists from Daraa, "schools in Idlib are in desperate need of campaigns focusing on education. Especially now that Idlib is no longer under the control of the regime," adds another activists from Idlib.
The activists behind the We Want to Learn campaign report they are not disappointed by the hesitant reactions. They realizing these initiatives take time, especially in light of the ongoing conflict. They look forward to a day when Syrian children obtain their basic right to an education, and when they get to play with toys and not guns.