Around 9,000 Syrian children in Egypt have been forced to drop out of school with only a basic level of education, according to a representative of Egypt’s Syrian community.
Speaking to Iqtissad, community leader Rasim al-Atassi said: "The Syrian community in Egypt [does] not have enough financial resources for funding, we are just a party representing the Syrians and trying to represent Syrians in front of the Egyptian government agencies and international organizations, our essential role is helping Syrian people and sort[ing] out their public affairs.”
Atassi added that the Syrian community, as a social organization, is unable to fund or finance, as they comprise of volunteers working to show the suffering of Syrians to the Egyptian government. He explained volunteers try to understand the problems of Syrian in Egypt, and transfer them to the appropriate authorities.
Atassi explained that he had held several meetings with prominent businessmen in an attempt to reach an agreement for funding.
"Syrian children are our future as they are known of their cleverness and creativity. Spending few million dollars now to save our children will reflect on the entire world in [the] future by saving billions of dollars to counter extremism and crimes those children might get involved in,” Atassi said.
"There are 41,000 Syrian students in Egyptian public schools and 17,000 students in universities as well. It is estimated that about 9,000 children dropped out of school, as a result of difficulties to secure fund[ing] to cover costs of education or finding a source of income for their families.”
"Our goal is to enable children to get their education and teaching, therefore, we communicate with the Ministry of Education overcome some difficulties, especially regarding official documents.
Atassi said he was in contact with the Minister of Education to receive a license to open Syrian schools in Egypt, but says he has been restricted by Egyptian laws. “Therefore we opened educational centers, and they effectively teach the Egyptian curriculum,” he said.
He explained that volunteers must also deal with the geographic spread of the Syrian community, explaining that they try to communicate with all Syrians via their offices in Cairo city and other provinces. He says volunteers were able to participate in a number of vaccination campaigns, adding that almost 90 percent of Syrian children have received measles vaccinations.
Atassi added that his volunteers coordinate with the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), successfully campaigning for the right of Syrians to be treated as Egyptians in the governmental hospitals. According to Atassi, a protocol between the UNHCR and the Egyptian Ministry of Health was signed designating 64 health centers in Cairo and Giza as free treatment centers for Syrians.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.