Blind Syrian brothers from Aleppo seek education in Ankara
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosThe recently established Madrasa-tul-Tafawwuq (School of Success), an informal learning center located on Önder Street in the Turkish capital of Ankara, aims to help educate Syrians in Turkey, including those with special educational needs such as brothers Ammar and Muhammed Atiye.
The lives of two blind teenaged brothers from Aleppo may seem hopeless from the outside, but Ammar and Muhammed Atiye harbor dreams of becoming scholars in Ankara someday.
The Atiye brothers were born blind, but it is believed doctors could cure their condition if a donor were to pay for the expensive treatment required.
The brothers arrived with their family in Turkey in 2014. Thirteen-year-old Ammar recalled his normal life in Aleppo’s al-Shaar neighborhood before it came under attack. He remembered how the family moved to Tel Jibin village and sought shelter there for eight months, as their father abandoned them and then returned to take them to safety to Turkey.
The older brother, 17-year-old Muhammed, said although they now live in safety in Turkey, they want to pursue high school and university education like other youth their age. He wishes he could own a laptop that could help him with his special needs education.
The opportunities provided at the center are nowhere near what Syrian children, especially those with special needs, generally aspire for.
The man behind the center, 25-year-old Syrian Yusuf Mohamad, said he got the idea to assist Syrian children with their education thanks to his previous humanitarian work.
“While distributing humanitarian aid to Syrians, I found out that something was amiss [about their] education. Syrian children were killing their time in front of television sets and on the streets,” Mohamad said.
There are two separate buildings for male and female students at the center, which is run locally with the support of volunteers. Around 300 students, including 200 male students, are taught the Quran alongside mathematics, biology, geography and the Turkish language. The Atiye brothers use a Quran written in Braille.
“I sought the help of my friends in Syria first; the one who was studying mathematics came and began teaching it here, then another one who was studying theology came to teach as well,” he said, adding there were 25 Turkish volunteers helping the students at the center learn Turkish.