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Young Rappers Work to Educate Syria’s Refugee Children 

  • Henry Ridgwell

An appeal to world leaders is calling on them to raise $750 million to educate a million Syrian refugee children living in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. A short movie has been produced to highlight the transformational opportunities a place at school can have.

‘With a smile and strength we will shape tomorrow.’

The optimistic rap lyrics of Samir, Abdulrahman and Mohamed – three refugee brothers who want to be Syria’s hottest hip hop stars.

"Our band is called Fire Rap. The band members’ stage names, are Samir, Amir and Jami," said 13-year-old Samir.

The brothers fled Syria to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley four years ago with their parents. They are among the more fortunate refugee children – they have places at a local school where they have honed their musical skills alongside a proper education.

FILE - Syrian refugee children attend a class during the opening of a new school at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, June 4, 2013.

FILE - Syrian refugee children attend a class during the opening of a new school at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, June 4, 2013.

Ben Hewitt is from the charity ‘Theirworld’ which commissioned the movie, titled ‘Straight Outta Syria’.

“The aim of this film is to raise awareness of the need to get every child into school. And we’ve chosen to focus on talents, on the potential of young people. And so people can see there’s a generation of young Syrians who are in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan out of school, and there’s lost potential," said Hewitt.

Theirworld estimates there are close to a million refugee children who are not in school – and that makes them vulnerable to child labor, early marriage, exploitation and extremism.

The charity wants to expand the so-called ‘double shift’ system that they say is working well in Lebanese schools – where local children attend in the morning, and refugee children in the afternoon.

Back at school, the three brothers perform songs in front of their classmates about fleeing the war in Syria – to rapturous applause.

"When I grow up I would like to write humorous songs. Because I don't like to write about misery," said 12-year-old brother Abdulrahman.

Hewitt says getting a place in school is about more than just learning.

“One, it gives them longer term hope. But also it gives them shorter term stability, gets them back into the classroom they’re in a safe environment, they’re learning and they’re focused," he said.

The charity is hoping to build support for the campaign ahead of a Syria Donors conference in London next month.

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