Each year, as August comes to a close and the new academic year begins, many children fill their bookbags with paper, books, and pencils to return to class. Others are not so lucky. This summer, CRP staff has been working tirelessly to gather funds and supplies to enroll more of our community’s children in school. In the past few months, we’ve talked to dozens of kids about their dreams, ambitions, and the problems that have prevented them from continuing their education. In the process, we’ve learned more about our community and the obstacles they face. Here are a few stories of kids in our community.

Munah, age 10, has been out of school for three years. Despite this, she is incredibly intelligent for her age and loves the literacy and drawing games at CRP’s children’s activities. She lives in Amman now with her father and extended family, but they are originally from Homs in Syria. She excelled at her classes there, but now her father is unable to work and they have no money for books, uniforms, and school supplies.

Salem, age 12, is very close with his brothers and sisters. They fled Iraq together after their family received began receiving threats. He and his siblings are very social and active in the community; his older brother often volunteers as a teen leader at children’s activities and Salem and his other brothers and sisters help out and participate, as well. Salem reads to his younger siblings and plays with them—they spend most of their time together—but he misses going to school with his friends. His family cannot afford to pay the registration fee required of Iraqis to enroll Salem or his siblings in a Jordanian school.

Public school resumed in Amman on September 1st. CRP has been preparing for this day for months and so far we have distributed 424 backpacks, 404 uniforms, and 432 school supplies to the children in our community. We have begun paying for school registration fees for 150 Iraqi children who, unlike Syrians, are required to pay this fee to attend school. Additionally, we are in the process of purchasing hundreds more school books for children who need them.

Because of your outpouring of support, Munah, Salem, and their siblings have headed to class with new uniforms and backpacks full of school supplies. These kids have faced many challenges in the past few years and today we’re happy to celebrate their success!

We want to give special thanks to Road to Mafraq, Jackie Jenkins, Helping Syrians in Jordan, Bill and Louise Sutton, Alexandra Dawley and the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) for their instrumental gifts to our Back to School initiative.