Journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon recently visited the Syrian town of Tabqa (outside of Raqqa) and found that access to education, specifically for girls, is under great threat. Whereas books and literacy were once an important part of Syrian culture, many girls are now reporting that their education has been lost as a consequence of the ongoing war. And many are being married off at a heartbreaking young age.
“You talk to these young women girls — 15, 16, 17 — and they will all tell you that almost everybody they know is either married or missing or was injured or killed in the war,” says Ms. Lemmon. “There is this generation of girls that has seen their dreams be crushed.”
Ms. Lemmon recounts an interview with a13-year-old girl living in a “displaced persons’ camp” outside Raqqa. “I said to her, you know, ‘Tell me about yourself, what do you want to do?’ She said, ‘All I want to do is be back in a classroom. And I said, ‘OK, well what subject?’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Oh, I don’t care whatever subject, you know I just want to be back studying.”