** UPDATE: The TentEd Project Update reviews the impact TentEd had in Erbil and the Domiz Refugee Camp in five weeks. **
Greetings from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq! No doubt you’ve heard reports of the lightening-pace developments that are tearing the region, especially Iraq, at the seams. Despite this mayhem, I am pleased to report positive developments regarding TentEd, EPIC’s ongoing initiative to support the education of displaced Syrian children, which I hope will give you a reason for optimism.
Not long after I landed, EPIC connected me with Sheelan, a long-time colleague, who is currently working with two other incredible educators Risa and Lydia at the International Volunteers of Yamagata, an organization that helps Syrian refugee children in the Erbil area adjust to going back to school. Risa is a Japanese national with excellent facility in Arabic. Sheelan is Assyrian Iraqi with a tireless work ethic. And Lydia moved to Erbil with her husband to escape the fighting in Syria.
Through these exceptional women I learned that one of the biggest inhibitors of consistent school attendance is the prohibitive cost of bus transportation. At an average cost of $60 per child, this monthly bill is simply beyond the reach of the refugee families. Other key needs are school uniforms, which are mandatory here, and simple school supplies.
Based on what we learned from the people on the ground, TentEd will improve the education environment for children attending the Garanawa Elementary School with the following support:
1. Bus transportation for all children attending “Catch-up School” for the entire month of July and part of August.
2. School uniforms for 200 girls and boys this fall.
3. Two hundred school stationery kits that we have already purchased and prepared for distribution in a few weeks.
In addition to the above support, TentEd was able to supply 97 first and second graders with a new pair of shoes to kick their summer off right!
This support will create an easier transition for the displaced Syrian students to continue their education which has been disrupted. In the upcoming weeks we will have more updates about the project and its influence, until then check out new photos on the TentEd page!