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Syrian girl takes up role of teacher in absence of school in refugee camp

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AFRIN, SYRIA: 10-year-old Meryem Ahmed , who lost her father in the attack of Bashar Assad regime, reading and writing teaches to her peers at camp in Afrin, Syria on September 29, 2022. (Bekir Kasım - Anadolu Agency)
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Nov 03, 2022 - 12:28 PM

AFRIN, Syria (AA) – A 10-year-old girl teaches her peers how to read and write, math, and Quranic recitation inside a tent-cum-classroom in northern Syria.

Meryem Ahmed along with her mother had to take refuge in the Rahmet Camp in the central city of Afrin after losing her father in a 2017 attack by Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime in Idlib.

At the Rahmet camp, there is no teacher or school where children can continue their education. So Meryem turned one of the tents into a classroom where she teaches 20 children whatever she learned at the school in Idlib.

Meryem, who wants to be a teacher when she grows up, told Anadolu Agency that her father was killed in an airstrike when he was on his way to pick her from school.

“My school completely disappeared before my eyes. I can never forget that day,” she said, talking about an airstrike on her school. “Here, I turned this tent into a school and I support my friends.”

She said her education was interrupted after her school was bombed and she does not want her friends to lag behind in education because of their circumstances.

According to Meryem, her peers have never gone to school before. In her makeshift classroom, Meryem says she tries to give her friends “the joy of school.”

“I told myself: ‘I will teach my friends everything I know’,” she added.

One of Meryem’s students, 11-year-old Muhammed Aslan said that regime forces also targeted his school in Idlib.

“We moved to Afrin with my family. There is no school in this camp and I fall behind in school,” he said. “Later, I learned that there is a teacher here.”

Muhammed was expecting an older teacher, he said. “I was surprised when I saw that the teacher was almost my age. Teacher Meryem is supporting us.”

“We don’t have any desk in the classroom or any equipment. But I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” he said.

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