UNICEF supports education of Syrian children in Turkey, says expert
Fevzi Kızılkoyun - ISTANBUL
Turkey, which hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees, deserves more support, while UNICEF is supporting education activities for Syrian children in Turkey, UNICEF Representative to Turkey Regina De Dominicis said on the 10th anniversary of the start of the Syrian civil war.
“With those activities, some 700,000 Syrian children participated in schools in Turkey,” De Dominicis told daily Hürriyet on March 15 during her first interview in the country.
De Dominicis, who got appointed in October 2020, brought to light some of the problems that children in Syria face and presented some statistics.
“More than 6,000 children died and some 5,000 wounded. More than 5,000 children were called to arms and forced to fight. Some 2.6 million Syrian children were displaced inside the country,” she said.
According to De Dominicis, since the start of the war in 2011, nearly 6 million babies have been born -- 4.8 million inside the country and more than 1 million abroad.
“Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country. Some 1.2 million of them are school-age children,” she said.
Supporting Turkey’s efforts for those children to participate in schools, she stressed that “there are still some 400,000 children in Turkey who are out of school.”
Due to the pandemic, the number is increasing gradually, she added,
The pandemic has made it difficult for families to survive and fulfill their economic needs, forcing their children to work while refraining them from going to school.
“UNICEF now tries to stop child labor, supporting and informing these children’s families,” she noted.
Highlighting that Turkey has set a good example about hosting refugees, she said: “Most of the Syrian children are born here in Turkey. They need to be supported with equal opportunities. Turkey is a good example of that, and the international community should support Turkey more, I think.”
“When you look at the situation in Syria, it won’t be realistic to think that Syrians abroad will return,” De Dominicis said.
“Child refugees are not a burden for a country; besides they should be considered as winnings,” she added.