The Syrian conflict has irreparably altered the lives of millions of people, many of them too young to remember what life was like before the war. Around 2.6 million children have been forced to flee their homes while many others have suffered the loss of family members and witnessed unimaginable atrocities.
The upheaval has resulted in 1.7 million children unable to attend school, a problem that is particularly bad in the northwest part of the country where many displaced Syrians have fled. Crammed into displacement camps or living in areas where schools have closed or been destroyed, Syrian children are missing out on the basic human right of education.
One Syrian organisation, the Hurras Child Protection Network, is determined to prevent this. Throughout the Syrian conflict, it has delivered child protection services to more than 40,000 children and helped provide educational resources. Now, with the help of donations from people around the world, Hurras has built a mobile library inside a van, stocked with around 1,500 books. The charity hopes it will promote reading among Syrian children and encourage them to associate learning with fun.
The rolling library is aimed at children aged six to 14 and tries to provide books to between 200 and 600 children at each visit, which has included trips to displacement camps. Once the children have picked their books, Hurras sets up sports activities for them and offers psychological support. The White Helmets, who are assisting Hurras with the mobile library also teach the children evacuation and safety drills. A protection officer travels with the van to register children identified as being at risk of abuse or neglect and who Hurras can subsequently check up on.
The first van has been such a success that Hurras is hoping to raise enough money for a fleet of mobile libraries. If you would like to donate, you can do so via the Ahmad Fund, a fundraising project set up by the Syria Campaign and Hurras.