In refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey, having transportation to and from school can often determine whether thousands of Syrian refugee children will have the chance to get an education. The IOM and UNICEF are offering school bus services in Jordan to provide greater security and more opportunities for young Syrians.
In the Jordanian refugee camp of Azraq, children used to have to walk up to two kilometers to be able to go to school. This often led to parents deciding to stop sending their children to lessons. Two years ago, the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF launched a school bus service, making it possible for children to travel safely and attend lessons on a regular basis.
School buses for security
The project is run by volunteers, including the parents like Ameena, who
fled her native city of Homs in Syria with her husband Abu Hamzeh and four
children. Ameena is one of the 66 bus escorts responsible for ensuring that
more than 9,000 Syrian children living in the Azraq refugee camp arrive safely
at school. ''People in the camp, our neighbors and friends, support the
initiative of school bus transportation. They are more disposed to sending the
kids to school, because they feel that they are safe,'' the IOM quoted Ameena
as saying. "Not to mention that the kids are much more excited to go to
school by bus!''
The project, which is aligned with the No Lost Generation initiative committed to
supporting Syrian children affected by the conflict, also provides special
assistance to kids living with disabilities. The IOM is implementing similar
projects throughout the region, where over 5 million Syrians have taken
The project in Turkey
In 2018, the IOM is planning to provide school buses to about 20,000 Syrian
child refugees living in seven provinces in the country. The organization
reports that of the 2.5 million Syrian child refugees living in Lebanon,
Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, 43% do not attend school. The IOM notes that
''For second-grader Alaa, living five kilometers away from her school, IOM's
school bus project in Turkey is the difference between getting an education or
Since her arrival in the southern city of Adana five years ago, Alaa and
her family have been living in the pasta factory where her father works. If
Alaa's father were to send his kids to school by public transportation, it
would cost him half his month's salary.''
IOM transportation services are available in summer as well for children
taking language and remedial classes. Almost 700 young Syrians attended school
over the summer in 2017 thanks to the IOM buses. On the request of the Turkish
interior ministry, IOM has extended its transportation services to Syrian
teachers as well who are attending Turkish language courses and who would
otherwise have to spend a large portion of their salaries just to pay for