Saturday, January 31, 2009

First art show

Four months ago I was trying to find the gallery can help Noor to show her paintings.

Noor is one of my students. She is an artist, and a few weeks ago I went to a meeting of Iraqi artists and writers to ask if they could help us host a show for the Iraqi kids.

One of them was encouraging and she is a poet and she liked what I do with my students. She agreed to host the show on Friday, Jan. 30.

Noor was nervous.

"The most important day of my live is this day," she said.

There were not a lot of people there but I am happy that I have a new project for artistic children, and now I am planning to a bigger show with more student artists.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year's

On the occasion of the New Year, Al-Nahren charity held a celebration for Iraqi kids in Damascus in the big church in Jaramaneh area where a lot of Iraqi refugees live there.

January 3rd was a good day for my students because I was able to get 15 tickets for them to the celebration. The amazing thing that the Christians and Muslims kids celebrated together in the church without prejudice, and everybody enjoyed themselves.

The gathering included Iraqi clowns and distribution of gifts for the children. There were about 300 kids at the celebration, as well as Iraqi actors, staff from the Iraqi embassy and some Iraqi volunteers in the UNHCR.

The clowns were able to put smiles on the kids' faces even though this is a difficult time — in the winter it's cold here and the students need many clothes and not all of them have heating systems and if they do it's very expensive this winter, because power is getting more expensive and everybody knows that the Iraqi refugees haven't any income in Syria.

Three months ago the UNHCR stopped the food system to Iraqi families in Syria, we don't know if they will continue or not. I think if they stop assisting refugees for much longer they will return back to the dangers of Iraq.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Test!

So, I needed to find out if my efforts teaching the Iraqi refugee kids how to use computers are fruitful. I sat up an examination for them.

Last week, I had the first test and it went very well. The "students" were very excited to compete with each other for higher grades. One of the kids actually cried when she got 8/10. When I saw that, I thought about how much these kids care about studying and learning even when they are this traumatized!

As I asked questions and got the right answers, I felt pleasure that I am doing the right thing although with many difficulties. I mean, considering the fact that I have no single chair, not enough computers or a blackboard, this is an achievement.

However, a few weeks ago, I went to one of the Syrian educational institutes and asked them if they have anything to help with. Eventually, they donated a few computer handouts, which were really helpful. So, things are not too bad at the end.