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Helping Syrian Children impacted by the earthquake

Money donated by people in Ireland to the Irish Emergency Alliance’s Turkey-Syria earthquake appeal supported Christian Aid’s local partner, Hurras Network, to run 70 summer schools in north-west Syria, helping boost the education and wellbeing of 16,500 primary-school aged children

The summer schools offered ‘catch up’ classes to children who saw their education badly disrupted by the earthquake. They are also giving children an opportunity to have fun and play by offering activities including arts and crafts as well as sports. The summer schools also teach children calming techniques to better cope with any stresses they have felt since the earthquake.

Caption: Ten-year-old Renaad (not her real name) taking part in activities at a summer school run by Christian Aid’s local partner in northwest Syria, Hurras Network. Credit: Hurras Network.

Ten-year-old Renaad (not her real name) is one of the children attending the summer school. 

Renaad’s home was badly damaged in the earthquake, which caused several walls to collapse.

I remember feeling scared. The terrifying sound still haunts me. We felt weak and helpless, as if we couldn't do anything. The hardest thing was our constant fear that there would be another tremor.

At first Renaad was worried about going back to school. “I was afraid of another earthquake happening while I'm away from my family. The school building is old, I was afraid it might collapse.”

However, Renaad has found the relaxation techniques taught at the summer school comforting.

I learned how to take deep breaths, which makes me feel more relaxed. It gives me the strength to face situations that bother me or make me sad.

Renaad loves the atmosphere of being around other children who enjoy the summer school just as much as she does. “I really like the summer school. The best part is when I see my friends entering the class all excited, waiting for the lessons and activities,” she said.