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The Girl Who Hasn't Been to School

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Nine year-old Najua has been to school for a total of five days in her young life. When she was about to start the second week of classes, her school in the Hama countryside in Syria was attacked by war planes and completely demolished.

Now she lives a few blocks away from her aunt, Fatima, in Turkey, in a half-finished space with her mother and three siblings: younger sister Iman, 5, brother Ahmed, 4, and baby sister Amal, 6 months.

Her mother Um Ahmed has not told the children that their father is still in Syria fighting with the Free Syrian Army against government troops. Instead, she simply tells them that he is working there.

Najua says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, but there is no money for her to take the bus to school in her new country. She cannot read or write.

When she thinks about her daughter’s lack of education, Najua’s mother said she feels, “something burning inside her.”

- - Yuka Tachibana, Ammar Cheikomar and Aziz Akyavas

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