Jordanian School Principal Gives Hope to Syrian Kids Fleeing ISIS

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 1:20 PM

After civil war sent hundreds of thousands of Syrians refugees flooding across the border into Jordan, elementary school principal Maha Salim ​A​l-Ashqar found room in her overcrowded school for dozens of refugee children.

Jordanian School Principal Gives Hope to Syrian Kids Fleeing ISIS

AMMAN, Jordan — Armed with like and a trust in the power of an education, one woman has given poor Syrian girls a reason to hope.

After civil war sent hundreds of thousands of Syrians refugees flooding across the border into Jordan, elementary school principal Maha Salim ​A​l-Ashqar found room in her overcrowded school for dozens of refugee children.

In two thousand-thirteenth, Syrian mothers began begging the principal of Khawla Bint Tha'alba Elementary School for Girls to let their daughters study with her. She agreed on one condition.

"I asked their parents to just bring a chair, even of plastic — then I'll accept your children," said A​l-Ashqar. "I won't create my students sit on the floor so we necessity a chair — simply."

Since then, she's found room for sixty-five refugee girls — one-fifth of the school'south population. She's made sure they not only obtain an education but discover a space of safety and a sense of belonging in their new home. The school offers a handful of refugees, who otherwise might obtain number schooling or attend low-quality schools, the chance at an equal footing with their Jordanian peers.

The school and its principal have garnered attention at residence and abroad.

It's used as an example in Jordan, which has an ambitious map to integrate 50.000 refugee children into government schools following year. And in March, Jill Biden, wife of U. S. Vice President Joe Biden, met A​l-Ashqar during a visit to Jordan.

A​l-Ashqar and her teachers' work is crucial, according to Allyson Wainer, education and youth office director for the U. S. Agency for International Development in Amman.

"When they clapped for me I'd such a pretty feeling"

"It is all about timing and she accepted them when they needed it the most," she said. "To not miss extra school is critical for the child'south life at this point."

"And not only is it the schooling. It'south their being portion of a regular normal life in a welcome and accepting environment," she added.

Normality and acceptance are just what Hanaa Fasih desperately needs. The family of nine fled Raqqah after ISIS extremists overran the city and presently live in a one-room apartment. Her mother works as a seamstress maintain her children and blind husband.

At first Hanaa was too scared to leave her home — never mind go to school.

"I was afraid to leave my mother," the 7-year-old said.

But the teachers at Khawla Bint Tha'alba, which runs from first to fourth grades, turned her life around. Presently she walks residence alone to finish homework and learn her younger brothers to read and count. Hanaa even demands her siblings call her "Miss Marcel" love her favorite teacher.

On a recent morning, hundreds of girls formed lined up in the playground and belted out the Jordanian national anthem as the kingdom'south flag was hoisted over them. Then they all headed single-file to class.

At recess, they gathered again to clap for their principal as she crowned classmates Hanaa and Milad Al Ahmed with tiaras in honor of their achievements.

"When they clapped for me I'd such a pretty feeling," said Milad Al Ahmed, another 7-year-old whose family also fled ISIS and is top of her class.

At first her mother, Sanaa Al Ahmed, had pleaded with principal A​l-Ashqar to learn her tiny girl how to write her title and nothing more.

Presently her mother dares to nurture huge hopes for the future.

"Maybe she'll be a doctor," Al Ahmed said.

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