Ibrahim is a unique little boy compared to the other kids at his school in Gaziantep, a city that lies near the Turkish-Syrian border. He attends one of the schools accepting Syrian refugee children, an institution supported by Zakat Foundation of America (ZF). Ibrahim looks much smaller compared to the other students and a cap covers his bald head. However, his face is illuminated with light, as are his eyes that shine beautifully. Even more beautiful is his recitation of the Quran, which he has memorized in its entirety.
Ibrahim is also a young boy diagnosed with cancer. His mother brought him to Gaziantep along with her six other children after their father was killed in Aleppo. Unfortunately, Ibrahim’s mother is also diagnosed with cancer and works as the janitor at her son’s school.
This is just one of the many stories you will find in Gaziantep. Today, Gaziantep has a rising population of Syrian refugees, many of them schoolchildren who need access to an education. These children are becoming known as the lost generation of Syria.
As a response to perhaps the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, ZF has been working on a number of projects to help this refugee youth. One of the main focuses of ZF’s Syria campaign is providing a quality education for these schoolchildren. The ZF Middle East office has been working with the Turkish Ministry of Education alongside the Syrian Ministry of Education to open schools in Gaziantep. Since then, 32 additional schools in Turkey have opened their doors to help Syrian children.
ZF currently runs three ZF-sponsored schools in Gaziantep and provides teacher salaries, school supplies, and after-school programs. So far, ZF has been able to provide an education to over 5,000 children with functioning institutions based in Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. There are also future plans to fully committing to another four schools within Syria for the coming school year.
It is also in Gaziantep that ZF has launched another orphan sponsorship program (OSP). ZF hopes the OSP will help those children who have lost everything due to the devastating war in Syria. It’s estimated thousands of Syrian children have lost both their parents due to the conflict. Currently, ZF sponsors 60 orphans in Gaziantep.
Don’t forget children like Ibrahim. Despite his health situation, he is very determined to go to school and receive an education. Don’t forget sisters like Ibrahim’s mother who fight illness and work incredibly hard so their children will prosper in this life. Please continue your support and you will be rewarded with abundant blessings in this life and the next.
The Prophet (saw) once said, “I and the custodian of an orphan are like this (together) in Paradise,” and he joined his forefinger and middle finger together [Al Bukhari].