11 May 2020 - Syria

First conflict, now coronavirus: "we are deprived of school"

Ahmad stands in Al Hol camp, Syria

Ahmad*, 13, has been living in Al-Hol Camp in North East Syria for more than two years, after fighting forced his family to flee.

"Before coronavirus, we were happy and attending school. I was studying. In the afternoon, I would play with my friends. No problems.

After the virus, everything is closed. We can't go to school. We are deprived of school and we are staying at home doing nothing. Our days pass with boredom.

It scares me that this virus is a killer.

Here at the camp, there is no medication, so that one can be treated. Even the main gate is closed, and they are not allowing anyone to go Al-Hasakah [a nearby city] to be treated.

We have faced difficulties before. During shelling and bombardment, we had to stay inside our homes. So this is not new for us. We are used to being in a tent, and having to stay in.

Including this time, I've been out-of-school three times in my lifetime. Once when the bombardment started and then the schools were closed. They were later opened for two or three months before being closed again in fear of aircraft bombardment. Extremist groups were using schools as safe houses.

I hope this disease disappears and then the school reopens and we can learn again.

I want to become a doctor so that I can treat sick people and so that we get more knowledge about coronavirus.

This disease first started in China and then it spread; we saw videos on WhatsApp.

It spreads, for example, if I shake someone's hand or I cough in my friends' face and so on. If I get it, the virus will spread if I hang out with my friend.

People should wash their hands, take a bath, and practice personal hygiene. And avoid gatherings. So that if anyone is sick, they don't transmit the virus to others. If things like soap, sterilizers, and medications are provided to them, people can do this.

I ask from the organisations here to help and provide medication because we're lacking medication in the camp, and to provide us with what we need to fight the coronavirus.

And I ask of people in the camp to protect themselves and their children so that coronavirus doesn't spread."

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Save the Children learning space that Ahmad attends has been closed. Our education team are providing alternative ways for children to keep learning including home-based education packs. 

Find out more about our global COVID-19 response here.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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