I Will Not Leave My School campaign

28 May 2013

“Bashar bombs us, we build.” These are the words of one of the participants of the I Will Not Leave my School campaign, that aims to ensure that with freedom comes responsibility.

The campaign kicked off in Raqqa city on April 12, 2013 with the aim of rehabilitating 20 schools to be ready to receive students. It was part of activists’ efforts to return to normalcy after the departure of regime forces from the city. It was also an attempt to fill the vacuum created by the withdrawal of the regime from the city at the institutional level.

The campaign was launched by the Free Youth of Raqqa and a number of other Raqqa groups, including Mahmud Darwish School, Durrat al-Furat School and Al-Zahra School. Activists cleaned classrooms and schoolyards, repaired seats, improved the infrastructure of the school, and collected books for the prospective students. These steps were taken so that “the children of the city could return to their school seats,” and take exams at the end of the academic year.

Activist Dr. Ayman al-Khalaf said the first stage of the campaign included the rehabilitation of three schools. Students began attending al-Zahra School after an outside body donated salaries for the teachers. "Here we extend our thanks to Dr. Ebeidah al-Mushrif who was following and supervising all the details at the school,” Al-Khalaf said.

The activists are facing the problem of internal refugees (IDPs) who came from other governorates and are seeking shelter at the schools. “We have found a solution. The IDPs stay on one floor, and students stay on another. We did this successfully at Al-Zahra School. We are working to find solutions to the remaining areas.”

But the most important aspects of the campaign, according to al-Khalaf, is that “the IDPs at the schools help us with cleaning and rehabilitation when they see us coming to clean the school, which reflects the Syrian spirit of brotherhood.”

The I Will Not Leave my School campaign continues as activists seek to rehabilitate all schools in order to better serve the city’s students.


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad