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Press Centre (3/2018)

Education to Overcome the Hardships

All Photos: UNICEF/Turkey/2017/Rich

Luay is only 8 years old but his experiences have made him a young hero. A young Zorro.

2 March 2018 –  Just like Zorro, he will fight for truth and justice. The look on his face shows that nothing is impossible in this life. After hearing, what he has been through, we wish for it to be this way. 8-year-old Luay’s mission in life was whispered in his ear at birth. Luay means protector and shield in Arabic. 


When Luay grows up, he wants to become a Turkish language teacher and teach children. He will teach because the “best part of teaching is learning new things along the way”. He loves school and the child friendly space where he spends most his time after school, and he loves his grandmother whom he had to leave behind in Syria. He is hopeful, they will meet again soon.
Luay and his family fled the war planes over their house. The little boy says “I will never return to Syria. There are planes there”. He hates the sounds of planes. Life has forced him to dream far away from his home and roots.
Luay after being forced to flee Aleppo, is now in Kilis continuing his education with the support of the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education Programme. “Through education, you can transfer knowledge from one generation to the other”, says Luay’s father as he comes to the community center to pick him up. “Without knowledge, one generation will disappear. This is the last thing we want. Although sometimes conditions force education as secondary, we must send children to school”. 

Many families are not able to send their children to school because of the economic hardships they face. The Conditional Cash for Education(CCTE) Programme provides support for those families who do not have a regular income and social security with the aim to encourage enrolment and improve school attendance of children.The programme is a national social protection programme which has been implemented by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies since 2003. In early 2017 it was extended to Syrian and other refugee families. It is implemented through a close partnership between the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Ministry of National Education, the Turkish Red Crescent and UNICEF. The extension of the programme has been made possible by the generous support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and is also supported by the Governments of Norway and the United States of America. Through such a support, Luay will be able to overcome problems he faces to go to school. Also, within the CCTE Programme, Luay’s family received a visit from the TRC outreach teams who provided information about the Programme and encouraged Luay to regularly attend school.
While talking about Luay’s admiration with Zorro, his father points out that Luay is a different kind of Zorro, his motto is: “pen instead of a sword”.  If you ever meet Luay, you will wish for him to forget all the bad things he has seen and for everything he wishes for to come true. But he is hopeful and hardworking. The support he gets is changing his life. Luay is only 8 years old but his experiences have made him a young hero. A young Zorro.


UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org