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Volume 11, No. 3 Winter 2008
Hope for A Future in Syria
Damascus, Syria — The fear of being kidnapped drove Rana and her family from Baghdad in 2005 to the safety of Damascus, Syria. But life in Damascus as a refugee with no education and no hope for work is almost as difficult as war in Iraq. Since 2007, IOCC has provided educational services and emergency supplies to Iraqi refugees living in Syria as well as to disadvantaged Syrians. Rana had been refused admission to Syria’s public schools because she had no certificate to prove that she had been a student, a common problem for refugees.

With her tuition paid for by IOCC, Rana is now a student at the Horizon Institute in central Damascus where she takes English and computer classes. IOCC recently received two new grants from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (BPRM). A grant worth $1.8 million will allow IOCC to continue to provide vocational training for 800 young people in such areas as hair-styling, car repair, cell phone repair, sewing and computer skills. The second contract, worth $2 million, will benefit thousands of Iraqi refugees and disadvantaged Syrians with tuition, school and hygiene kits, teaching materials, summer courses, and vocational training.

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