november 2015


November 8 - 13  Reyhanli, Turkey
 Ruwwad School for Syrian Refugees

40 mentors 750 students (grades 1-12)

This was our seventh Karam mission, led by over 40 mentors traveling from around the world, serving over 700 Syrian students, grades 1 - 12, who are currently displaced along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The purpose behind Innovative Education is to creatively approach solutions to child trauma. In partnership with local Syrian schools, our program focuses on serving the health and psycho-social needs of refugee students, because educating also requires healing from the trauma of war and displacement. Our multi-talented team of mentors are experienced in working with children and are dedicated to their learning and development. 

Teens were introduced to the basic ideas about entrepreneurship and prepare them for a computer driven world. Students with an interest in a tech career had the opportunity to learn these skills and eventually find paying jobs.  

Karam’s Medical Director from Chicago along with a DC-based pediatrician worked with a local ophthalmologist to provide holistic health care and vision screenings for the students. There was also a special segment on women’s health led by a OBGYN Resident to help foster young women’s sense of self and how to be a potential leader for change. 

Our team of 4 US-based, top-rated dentists and doctors ran the mobile dental clinic which includes check-ups, teeth cleanings, fillings and caries control, extractions and emergency tooth care for the students. They also led a dental and personal hygiene awareness workshop which trained the kids how to brush, educated them on the importance of brushing, and provided each child with a personal dental/hygiene kit.


Other workshops included:

PSYCHO-SOCIAL SUPPORT: Led by a special Education Consultant and a Psychologist who worked with both students and teachers. Teachers had the opportunity to learn different strategies that can be used to support all students, including those with challenging behaviors. 

SPORTS/ SELF-DEFENSE: Led by professional martial arts experts, to help empower boys/girls. This workshop included physical techniques as well as mental and spiritual training, aimed to build confidence and promote self-empowerment.

CULINARY ARTS: Students learned practical skills in the kitchen and also work on team-building and how to create a business by selling baked goods.

FILMMAKING: Students learned how to shoot footage, set up a scene, and how to make a short film. The goal of the workshop was to instill storytelling and self-expression skills through the art of film.

ART MURAL: Led by an acclaimed muralist from South Africa who designed and guided the students to paint a final art piece on the school wall.

MAPPING OUR HOME: Led by an architect, students drew floor plans of their home in Syria from memory or imagined their homes in the future. The goal of this workshop was to preserve fleeting memories of home and encourage imagining a positive future.

DESIGN LAB AND CRAFTS: Led by a renowned artists and interior designers, children made dreamcatchers to capture their bad dreams. They also used recycled materials and paint to create "imaginary pets" to take home. 

JOURNALISM: Led by internationally renowned writers and journalists, students learned how to conduct interviews and tell a story from a neutral perspective.

PHILOSOPHY/ ANTIGONE READING: Students learned how to approach problems philosophically and do a reading and performance of Sophocles' Antigone.

STUDENT COUNCIL:  The importance of democracy and empowering students to take initiatives in their own school, including speech making and elections.

TRANSLATION TEAM: Karam Foundation is proud to hire a group of four young Syrians as translators for our mentors. This motivated group traveled from Syria to Turkey to join us. They also learned skills and techniques from our mentors to take back to children who live inside Syria.

Long-Term Investment in the School

Computer lab (15 desktops, projector, screen, desks, chairs, laptop for instructor), laptops for the teachers, kitchen appliances, interior paint for entire school, interior mural.

Planned Investments

Fix bathrooms, fix all doors and create partitions between adjoining classrooms, provide monthly supplies of cleaning and stationary needs for the school.