YASMEEN, HAITHEM AND KHALED
CITY OF ORIGIN: IDLIB, SYRIA
LENGTH OF DISPLACEMENT: 1 YEAR
STATUS: CHILD LABOR + DISABLED FATHER + EXTREME POVERTY
OUR FAMILY: YASMEEN (11), HAITHEM (12), KHALED (13)
OUR STORY: We all work to support our family. Our father, who is still suffering from an injury sustained in Syria, stays at home with our mother. Yasmeen works at a local salon, sweeping the floors from hair clippings. Haithem and Khaled work collecting scrap metal. As you can see from our scarred hands, physical labor has taken a toll on us. Though we have been displaced for one year, we have not attended school for 4 years because the conflict in Syria prevented us from continuing our education. After joining Karam's Learn Not Earn program, we were able to finally quit our jobs and go back to school.
UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2015: Although we still live in the same small and dark home, our lives have completely changed since the Karam Team came in September and told our families that they could help us go to school instead of working. Yasmeen quit her job sweeping floors and is now in third grade. Heithem and Khaled no longer have scars on their hands since they quit their jobs collecting scrap metal. We all walk to the Ruwwad School together. Yasmeen loves school and insists to get the best grades and she cries when she doesn’t. We were so lucky to be part of Karam’s Innovative Education mission too! We painted murals, made art, got dental and eye exams, and played. Our father reminds us every day that going to school is our choice, that we can choose to work or go to school. We choose to go to school.
UPDATE - MARCH 2016: "My brothers Haithem and Khaled like Arabic class the most. They say because Arabic is easy for them. Khaled and Haithem have friends they play with in their class. My favorite subject is English, because English is the most important language in the world. I really like my English teacher, Miss Ulla. There are 24 kids in my class. I sit with my friends Mariam and Aysha. We are all so happy to be in school. We really like to be with our friends. Thank you Karam!" - Yasmeen
UPDATE - JUNE 2016: "We are doing so well! Yasmeen, my sister, has learned how to read and write and her behavior has improved so much since she started school according to our mommy. My brother Haithem used to have issues with making friends, but now he has two best friends and they are always playing together. As for me, I no longer work and now I’m also doing much better. We all love our school, and we love our teachers. During the summer, we really want to improve our language skills. I want to learn English, my brother wants to learn Turkish and our sister wants to copy us of course!" - Khaled
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2016: "This summer, we all took summer classes. We are all really excited to go back to school to see our teachers and start our schoolwork. I’m looking forward to my math class -- it’s my favorite subject! We are not to sad to see summer go away, because we all love school. This year, we are planning on improving our English and Arabic!" - Khalid + Haithem + Yasmeen
UPDATE - JANUARY 2017: "The first semester has been quiet. The best part of it was when my class threw our teacher a surprise birthday party. My favorite subject is Math, and i also got a 100 on the test. My dad is so proud of me because of this. Khaled loves Arabic class, and he also did well on the test. We think Yasmeen is going to be a scientists because that's her favorite class!" -Love, Haithem
UPDATE - APRIL 2017: "I really enjoy helping my teachers and my school. After school, I help my teachers clean up while my siblings play. Yasmeen has a new friend in her class, so does Khaled. My friends all came back to school with me and that makes me happy. Khaled did very well on his examinations which made our mom very happy. I did well and so did Yasmeen, but he did the best!" -Love Haithem
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2017: “We studied Arabic and English during the summer and played sports. I enjoy my classes at school and Yasmeen is also doing pretty well. We had a school play the other day and I enjoyed acting so much. I love Reyhanli and one day I want to be a pediatrician and Yasmeen wants to be an Architect.” – Haitham.
UPDATE - JANUARY 2018: “My teachers treat me very well, and my grades were good in the exams. At school my friends and I always help each other, I usually help them in Arabic and they help me in my Turkish. Khaled and Haitham enjoy going to school and are always studying hard. At Karam House Khaled gets to improve his English while Haitham and I like reading in our free time.” – Yasmeen.
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