The hopes of millions of Syrians who have had to leave their homes in order to flee civil war in their country, linger in the lands where they took refuge. Thousands of Syrian high school students who took shelter in Turkey are some of them. As these students could not continue their high school education, they make up for their education in Hayat's Reyhanlı district.
Syrian teenagers continue pursuing their dreams of attending a university at Al-Selam School, which was established for Syrian students three years ago. There are three other high schools in the district that provide education to Syrian teenagers as well.
Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent, Al-Selam School Principal Cengiz Hazırlar said 145 senior students are receiving high school education at Al-Selam School. Hazırlar added that they provide the necessary environment in Reyhanlı for Syrian students who could not complete their education in their country. "Because of the civil war that broke out in our neighboring county, the hopes and dreams of millions of young people have gone unrealized. We were able to help the hopes of these young people flourish with Al-Selam school, which we opened three years ago," he said. Hazırlar stressed that all the young people carried traces of the war, and the school's staff looks after each student.
Hazırlar highlighted that 80 Syrian students took and passed their university exams in the last two years, leading them to enroll in various universities in Turkey. Hazırlar added that the happiness reflected in the eyes of the Syrian students instills him with feelings that transcend joy.
A total of 25 male and 55 female students who will attend Al-Selam School during the 2015-2016 academic year will be able to enroll in universities in Rize, Adıyaman, Erzurum, Siirt, Mersin, Konya and Gaziantep. They will study pharmacy, political science, engineering, counseling, psychology, medicine and computer programing.
A total of 53 instructors work at Al-Selam School and they teach Turkish, mathematics, English, chemistry and psychology. Moreover, nearly 300 Syrian students who attend other high schools in the district are able to enroll in Turkish universities as well.
Muhammed İbrahim, 18, tried to stay in Syria with his family even after the civil war broke out. However, they could not stay and had to leave for Reyhanlı. İbrahim said he had to drop out of high school for three years before re-enrolling in school in Reyhanlı. He added that when he first heard of a high school that offers education to Syrian students, he was very happy. He also said that he was able to get into a university because of his two-year stint at Al-Selam School. "People have been very good to us in Turkey. I re-discovered my dreams here. I want to get a university degree and be useful to my country. I thank the people who helped us so much," he said.
Ahmet Seflo, 18, said he came to Reyhanlı after fleeing the civil war and completed his high school education at Al-Selam School. He added that he wants to go back to his county to do good work after getting his university degree.
The Syrian civil war has now entered its fifth year and has caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people with at least 60,000 missing. The war has also displaced nearly 10 million people. Also 7.2 million displaced in Syria – an increase from a long-held U.N. estimate of 6.5 million – as well as 3.3 million Syrian refugees abroad. The vast majority of Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. As of July 2015, the Turkey has registered more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees, according to United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, data. Western countries have frequently been criticized by aid agencies and the U.N. for not opening their borders to Syrian refugees, as the most developed countries have received the least number of refugees.