Its name is Ma’an, which means “Together” in Arabic. It is located in a two-story building, with eight rooms, four of which are classrooms that will be used to welcome the students.
First opened to facilitate the delivering of food packages to students during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, now Ma’an will offer English, Arabic and Math lessons together with a daily lunch to children from 10 to 14 years old. The school will be open from Saturday to Wednesday between the hours of 11:30-15:00.
At first, Ma’an will open with 34 students, both male and female. When the Covid-19 emergency subsides, the aim is to be able to provide a much needed education, and safe space, for up to 80 students.
«We are incredibly happy we can finally open our center in Ad-Dana. The situation in North-West Syria is incredibly dramatic: there are 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance out of a population of 4.1 million», says Giulia Cicoli, Programs & Advocacy Director at Still I Rise. «What we do is a drop in the ocean, but for the students who are going to attend our center it will make the difference. Education is a human right and Syrian children have been neglected for far too long».
Abdulkafi Alhamdo, who is the Project Coordinator for Syria, knows well the situation in Ad Dana: teacher and human rights activist, he survived the Holocaust of Aleppo. «Eight years ago, in 2012, there was the Aleppo crisis, and thousands of students left schools because they had fear of bombs, or because they had to work to help their families. I started teaching during the bombing, I was in the schools, I saw some of my students dead in front of my eyes. Nevertheless I didn’t stop, I was going to their small houses to teach them, because I understand that education is life, and if this generation didn’t go on, they would lose everything. When Still I Rise told me about the project of Ma’an, it was like a dream come true. Not only for me, it’s the dream of many students that also comes true. This school is a lighthouse for many kids lost in a sea of darkness». (Press release)