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Many Syrian Children Lacking Educational Opportunities

The United States has accepted 15,000 Syrian refugees. (karamfoundation.org)
The United States has accepted 15,000 Syrian refugees. (karamfoundation.org)
August 21, 2017

CHICAGO – While many children are now heading back to school in Illinois and around the country, many other children who are victims of the crisis in Syria are suffering and not able to attend class.

According to the United Nations, many children who have fled their war-torn countries with their families are not getting an education.

Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder of the Karam Foundation, says there are so many other issues capturing our attention that the plight of Syrian refugees has been pushed out of the spotlight, but she says they are suffering.

"There are hundreds of thousands of kids that are not able to access proper schooling, thousands of kids in child labor, and this is a problem ongoing from elementary aged kids all the way up through university," she states.

Sergie Attar says refugee children allowed into the United States are falling behind in school. She says fewer than 6 percent of those who are of college age are enrolled in universities.

Sergie Attar also says refugee children are struggling because they don't understand the language and many need tutoring. She says education helps refugees to be able to stand on their own feet.

"They're not being given the opportunities, and that's the key word here for helping Syrian refugees in the U.S. is to go beyond the basics, and to give families and kids opportunities," she stresses.

The Karam Foundation has back-to-school programs, including one that focuses on getting children out of child labor.

Another provides college scholarships, and there's one that gathers back-to-school items and winter coats for children who need them.

Sergie Attar maintains the United States could do much more to help refugees.

"In Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, they're in the millions,” she points out. “We've accepted only 15,000 out of over 5 million Syrian refugees, so the U.S. really has not taken on its fair share."


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL