Ayat, the Teacher | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content


After being forced to drop out of school in Grade 3, Ayat, 12, took it upon herself to teach her younger siblings and cousins how to read and write.

Together with her family, Ayat fled her home in Ar-Raqqa due to violence, and sought shelter in Ein Issa, a tented camp in the middle of the desert. More than 8,000 people, half of whom estimated to be children, now live in the makeshift camp, under extremely basic conditions.

“Whenever we heard sounds of fighting, I would grab my younger siblings and huddle together in the corridor of our house,” says Ayat, remembering the horrific experiences she lived through.

Back in Ar-Raqqa, fighting, attacks and restrictions imposed on education, meant that most children had not seen the inside of a classroom in almost four years.


“I decided to help my siblings and cousins learn the basics that I know in Arabic and English. They’re very young so they’re fast learners!” says Ayat.

 “I teach them how to write Arabic letters and English numbers.”

Ayat who dreams of returning back to school adds “I want to teach them as they are young because education is easier at this age.”

UNICEF is finalizing preparations to set up 10 tents as temporary learning centres, to help children at the camp continue their learning. UNICEF also supports 6 tents serving as child friendly spaces, where children receive psychosocial support and engage in recreational and educational activities to help them cope with their reality. To help children like Ayat achieve their dreams through education, click here.