Entries marked "Iraq"

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New programme in Iraq aims to bring education, and hope, to children in prison

By Maulid Warfa and Hassnein Hadi

The inauguration of schools in Iraqi prisons means that a sentence to prison does not have to mean a sentence to end learning.

© UNICEF Iraq/2013
Mohamed (yellow shirt) receives gifts as part of his graduation celebration in Basra Central Prison. He was one of two students in Amal Primary School to pass the stage three national Accelerated Learning Programme examinations with top scores.

BASRA, Iraq, 5 November 2013 – Mohamed is the oldest of six children. In primary school, he was among the best students in his class.

When he was 12, Mohamed decided to support his family while continuing his education. “I liked my school very much, but I felt the responsibility to help my father and to provide some income,” he said.

Mohamed starts working

Mohamed found a job at a store in Basra, which paid about US$12 a day. “This helped my family a lot,” he says.

Soon, though, the demands of the job would force Mohamed to leave school.

“I was very comfortable and happy with my work, and I was well respected at home by my parents and my sisters,” he says.

One day changes everything

One morning, Mohamed found himself in contact with the law.

According to Mohamed, at 3 a.m., he heard the roar of motorbike engines and the sound of breaking glass. He saw several boys with motorbikes breaking into a mobile phone shop.

“I shouted at them, and they fled,” he says. “I then went to see what they were doing. I found the door open. I entered the shop, but within seconds, security guards came in and found me. They called the police.”

Mohamed was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

In prison, life comes back

© UNICEF Iraq/2013
The entrance to Amal school. Amal means 'hope' in Arabic. The school, which was established by UNICEF, has 45 students and also provides adult literacy classes for women and men from nearby Maqal Prison.

In November 2011, Mohamed was moved to Basra Central Prison, where he shared a cell with ten other boys.

In September 2012, Amal Primary School opened in the prison, the result of nearly a year of UNICEF negotiation with Basra authorities. Amal means ‘hope’, in Arabic.

The school has 45 students in three different levels. It also provides adult literacy classes for 100 male and 20 female inmates from Maqal Prison, which is not far from Basra Central Prison.

Amal school has changed Mohamed’s life.

“Before the school, I was depressed, sad and confused, but when the school started, I spent all my spare time studying, as I felt life coming back to me again,” he says.

Mohamed’s grades reflected his commitment. He was one of two students in the school to pass their stage three national Accelerated Learning Programme examinations with top ten scores.

“I never thought I was going to pass with such high marks – and it is a very beautiful feeling,” he says.

Support for Mohamed and others

UNICEF’s new Justice for Children Programme in Basra continues to support children like Mohamed, so that they can continue their education and find purpose in life, even when they’re in maximum security.

The programme is expanding – a new prison school was due to open in Nassriyah on Sunday 27 October, and another one in Ammara in early 2014.

For Mohamed, prison is now just a bad memory. The same day he got his test scores, he found out he was eligible for early release.

Today, he is reunited with his family and free to pursue his dreams.

“I want to become the best engineer in Iraq, and I know I can,” he says.

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Protecting children, in Domiz refugee camp, Iraq

By David Morley

© UNICEF Canada/2013
A young boy holds his landmine awareness colouring book in Domiz camp, Iraq. 'What a world we live in, when children need colouring books to learn how to avoid being killed or maimed by a landmine,' writes President and CEO of UNICEF Canada David Morley.

Recently, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada David Morley visited Domiz refugee camp in Iraq.

DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 27 June 2013 – You drive over the mountains that surround Dohuk City and Domiz refugee camp opens up before you – a community of 45,000 people that wasn’t there just a year ago.

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Education Under Pressure in Iraq

© UNICEF Iraq/2008/Arar <br/> A girl walks through the rubble of her destroyed classroom at the Baghdad Primary School in Sadr City.

© UNICEF Iraq/2008/Arar
A girl walks through the rubble of her destroyed classroom at the Baghdad Primary School in Sadr City.

NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2008 – The ongoing conflict in Iraq continues to have a devastating impact on children and schools there. Insecurity and violence have forced teachers to flee, kept students at home and, in some cases, closed schools completely.

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Education Under Attack

© UNICEF/NYHQ2004-0269/Christine Nesbitt</br>A man teacher addresses a class of girls, in a temporary classroom in the Kassab IDP camp near the town of Kutum, 116 km from capital of North Darfur.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2004-0269/Christine NesbittA man teacher addresses a class of girls, in a temporary classroom in the Kassab IDP camp near the town of Kutum, 116 km from capital of North Darfur.

NEW YORK, USA, 16 November 2007 – Providing education to children in regions and societies affected by conflict – or emerging from it – is a major challenge.

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Iraqi children flood Damascus schools

Iraqi children flood Damascus schools putting pressure on education system<br />© UNICEF Video

Iraqi children flood Damascus schools putting pressure on education system
© UNICEF Video

25 September 2008 – Iraqi children flood Damascus schools putting pressure on education system

Iraqi children head to schools in Damascus at the beginning of the new school year. Their families fled the conflict in Iraq, and schools in Syria are now overcrowded

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In the wake of violence, working to repair the damage done to children’s schools and confidence

© UNICEF/MENA02131/Pirozzi</br>A man teacher helps students, sitting three to a desk in a school is in the village of Al-Zuraiji. Like many in the area, it was damaged during the war.

© UNICEF/MENA02131/PirozziA man teacher helps students, sitting three to a desk in a school is in the village of Al-Zuraiji. Like many in the area, it was damaged during the war.

By Claire Hajaj

AMMAN, Jordan, 23 May 2008 – The Baghdad Girls Primary in Iraq’s Sadr City had only been occupied by students for a few months before violent clashes erupted between military forces and militia groups in the area.

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