A group of university students in İzmir have become "volunteer teachers" for Syrian refugee children between the ages 6 and 12.
With the corporation of the Association for Solidarity with Syrian Refugees, Ege University and İzmir Katip Çelebi University, university students offer classes for Turkish, math, science and social sciences for Syrian students three hours a week. Apart from the classes, volunteers also win the hearts of the children by organizing play times. More than 100 children are attending the classes offered by the volunteers.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Muhammed Salih Ali, president of the Association for Solidarity with Syrian Refugees, said: "While children are improving their Turkish, the volunteers learn Arabic from them. The lessons teach both sides so many things."
Cansu Erdem, one of the volunteer university students, said she is extremely happy to meet the brave children and to spend time with them. She said although she is the teacher, she learns a lot from them as well.
Apart from the lessons, the volunteers organize theatrical plays as well to help the children improve their social skills. "Playing games is not only a leisure activity. In fact, the children are learning more while playing," Erdem added.
Volunteer Tuğberk Bayraktar has been giving Syrian children lessons on communications for the last three years. He said "peer bullying and social isolation" are the most common things refugee children face. Bayraktar said their main concern is to teach children the importance of brotherhood and friendship.
Ten-year-old Gadir Ebuamşah is one of the children attending İzmir Mehmetçik Elementary School. He came to Turkey four year ago with his family and improved his Turkish thanks to the lessons offered by the volunteers.
"We learn so much here," said Gadir. "I play games with my friends and teachers. Hide and seek is my favorite. The teachers take care of us. I am very happy here."