Syrian Refugees

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Seventh-grade girls attend Arabic class at the school in Azaz Camp, just inside the Syrian border with Turkey, Feb. 26, 2013. A private charity donated the tents for the school, which has around 800 students between the ages of 6 and 16. Desks and other materials were salvaged from schools in Azaz village a few kilometers away. The school opened two months ago, and because there are so many children, they attend either a morning or an afternoon session, learning math, Arabic, English, and religion. Almost all of the teachers and staff are refugees and reside in the camp. The children come to school with special challenges--they may have psychological distress because of traumatic events or health problems due to poor living conditions in the camp, and some have not been in school for a long time and have to catch up to their grade level. "We try everything to make them happy," said a teacher, Abdul Razaq. According to administrators, this camp holds roughly 9,000 to 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDP's). Two meals per day are provided by a Turkish humanitarian organization, and Qatar Red Crescent provided tents. There is very little electricity, and no running water. There is also a refugee camp on the Turkish side of the border, but it is full. The UN Refugee Agency has reported a sharp increase in refugees fleeing Syria for neighboring countries in the first months of 2013.