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Over the previous months a number of monumental steps have been taken in implementing the goals and objectives of the Syrian Kids’ Rights (SKR) Project. The late Nelson Mandela once said, “education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.” Mandela’s words fit perfectly with the perspective we ourselves hold at TI. Although as it stands we do not have the capacity to make significant changes to the world system, we can use education to make a difference to the future of those close to ourselves. Thus, sponsored by Tolerancy International (TI), providing education to the child refugees in Iraq is one such goal of the SKR project.

 

 

Approximately 235,000 Syrian refugees are presently living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). They are mainly aided by the local authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and some international and local NGOs. The KRG authorities and those NGOs have located the Syrian refugees in the main cities Erbil, Sulymaniya and Duhok of KRI. Due to the conflict in Syria, the number of refugees is increasing rapidly and daily, and the situation in Syria indicates that at least one million Syrian children refugees are scattered throughout the region. In the beginning of the conflict, the KRG local authorities in collaboration with international NGOs were able to respond to the needs of the refugees by providing them with basic services, protection, and assistance. Despite the massive influx of families, some of them decided to move to the main Kurdish cities but are confronting very difficult circumstances. The basic living conditions inside the camps are troubling; refugees face a new, hostile environment.

 

 

 

We as TI are focusing mainly on the children at the Kewargosk refugee camp as a first step. This is due to the fact that the children are the most vulnerable within these settings not only because of the lack of resources, education, and services, but also because of the impact of violence and war in their lives. The refugee children need an immediate response and action to provide them with a basic, safe, and comfortable environment in which they can regain their physical, mental, and psychological health. The population of the Kewargosk camp is around 14,000, of which more than 60 percent are individuals below the age of 18.

 

 

 

As aforementioned we have made several advances as part of the SKR project in providing education to the children at Kewargosk. Firstly, we have made a number of formal agreements with key colleges in Erbil, including the College of Engineering at Salahaddin University and the College of Medicine at the Hawler Medical University. We are also looking to cooperate with the University of Kurdistan Hawler as a means of obtaining student volunteers for the project. We are very grateful to the deans of these faculties for all their support and to the student bodies within these colleges.

 

 

 

Secondly, we have come to a formal agreement with the Kurdistan Students’ Union in Erbil as a means to gaining volunteers for the project, advertising our project internally and in receiving assistance related to the logistics of taking students to the Kewargosk refugee camps. We thank the Kurdistan Students’ Union and hope that together we can provide some basic needs to the Syrian child refugees at the Kewargosk camp and in general.

 

 

 

Thirdly, on December 12, 2013, we held our first workshop at the Hawler Medical University’s College of Medicine with the help of IFMSA-Kurdistan. The workshop was run through Skype-conference thanks to the support of Cesiah Alcaraz, a supporter of the SKR project and an expert in handling child refugees. Around 40 students attended of which 25 have put their names down to go to the camps to teach what they have learned to the child refugees at Kewargosk. We thank them all for their hard work and dedication to their fellow human beings, they stand to embody the key principles of tolerance, peace and brotherhood that drives our work at TI. Moreover, it must be noted that this would not have been possible without the support and assistance of Daryan Jamal, a student at the university and a SKR project coordinator at the college and Haval Mohammed Salih, a Masters student in civil engineering in Malaysia and a new member of the SKR project.

 

 

 

This brings us to the final point of progression and that is the number of individuals that have contributed to the SKR project or who have joined in recent months both in Iraq and Internationally. We have members from Portugal, France, the Netherlands, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia and in Iraq and it continues to grow. A full list of these members will be placed on the website in the days to come.

 

 

 

Due to the holiday break and student exams our direct efforts to take students to the Kewargosk refugee camp has been halted considerably as of late. However, with these coming to an end at the end of January, February is looking like the month in which TI’s SKR project will officially kicks off. If you wish to be part of it please do not hesitate to contact us via the contact details provided below:

 

 

 

Name: Kara Ali Eskerie

 

Title: Assistant Project Manager

 

Iraqi Phone Number: 00 964 751 042 5028

 

Australia Phone Number: 00 61 410 984 814

 

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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