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program does an exceptional career of placing

in Aktivitäten zur Sprachpflege 12.10.2018 03:26
von beautygirl • 781 Beiträge

CAIRO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- In the heart of Cairo's Maadi, one of the Egyptian capital's upscale districts, lies a two-story villa that is quite indistinguishable from other buildings in the neighborhood.


The property used to house a family of 10, but with its bedrooms refurbished into classrooms and a small garden into a playground, it is now occupied by African Hope Learning Center (AHLC) and caters for 500 students, most of whom are refugee children from Africa.


ONLY CHANCE FOR EDUCATION


According to a recent report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Egypt hosts more than 50,000 refugees from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and other African countries.


The unofficial number, however, may be much higher, and mere numbers reveal little about the dire situation of refugees, especially that of children.


"Refugee kids suffer from war trauma, famine and extreme poverty in their countries of origin. They easily feel insecure and anxious," said Kizito Dreanos, a senior staff member of AHLC. "In a word, they are very troubled."


Founded in 1998, AHLC is a sponsor-backed institution dedicated to providing displaced African children in Cairo with access to primary and high school education, as well as a lunch, the only meal of the day for many of them.


"The kids' families can't afford public schools here, so AHLC is the only hope for them to have any education at all," Dreanos told Xinhua.


After a brief summer holiday, around 30 children came back to attend the center's summer school on Monday, coinciding with the United Nations' World Refugee Day.


Rasha Tartizio, a 17-year-old girl who has been studying at the center for five years, told Xinhua how she missed school during the holidays because she wants to meet her friends.


"I don't like holidays; they are boring. You can meet new people and your best friends at school, and we play and sing together, so the school has alway been fun," said Rasha, adding that her dream is to travel around the world someday.


TEACHER, FRIEND, PARENT


AHLC currently employs 49 staff members, the majority of whom are Africans. They play multiple roles in the school: teachers, playmates, and sometimes parents.


Dreanos came from Uganda and started volunteering in AHLC nine years ago when he was a college student. He taught the children basic computer skills, English and mathematics. After graduation, he chose to work here as a full-timer.


"It was an easy decision for me to stay here because I want to make a difference," Dreanos said. "Most of the kids here have lost one or both of their parents back home, so I sometimes feel that they look upon me as their father."


The children's laughter is Dreanos' biggest reward. "Spending time with the kids has always been lots of fun to me. No matter how bad a morning starts, those children always make my day when the school begins."


Dreanos' story is typical of the staff: they came to Cairo as students or refugees, started volunteering in AHLC, and simply could not leave the children behind.


John James came from South Sudan to Egypt 17 years ago and found his first job at AHLC.


"Deep in my heart there is a calling. I have the ability to teach those children, so I have to, and I love it," said James, the director of the summer school.


"What I have seen in my life, I do not want the children to see it again. That's the reason why I work here for so long," said Hala David, supervisor of the center's primary school.


AGAINST ALL ODDS


Mounting financial pressures have challenged AHLC's existence in recent years. With 80 percent of its budget coming from donations, AHLC finds it even hard to pay the rent of the villa on time, James told Xinhua, adding that there is also a lack of budget to purchase educational equipment and to repair broken desks and chairs.


"It is crystal clear that without proper financing, the center will surely stop operating. But it is hard to convince people to donate to a cause they know nothing about. You see Syrian refugees on television every day, but the world seems to have forgotten African refugees," Dreanos said.


Another predicament manifests in the very name of AHLC.


"Officially, we cannot call AHLC a 'school' because we are not accredited with the Egyptian government, so we need to call it 'learning center' instead," Dreanos said, adding that it is paperwork and lack of qualified teachers that stands in the way.


Against all odds, AHLC is struggling to survive.


Recently, the center has held a series of fundraisers to raise awareness of African refugees in Cairo. The school is also considering hiring two full-time Egyptians to help facilitate the center's accreditation process. Moreover, the school has implemented an international curriculum that will give the graduates a better chance to be enrolled in overseas colleges.


Support from the local community provides the vital impetus for AHLC in hard times.


"We appreciate that Egypt opened the door to us. Though we used to have some minor problems with surrounding community, we are excited to see more Egyptian volunteers recently. Some help us tutor the kids, and some contribute to arranging extracurricular activities," James said. "We are blessed to have them." Enditem

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