This week, Iraqi schoolgirls and their families will rejoice as they resume classes for the first time after three years under ISIS control.
Back in January, Iraqi national forces liberated eastern Mosul from the brutal hands of ISIS, Reuters reported. Since then, people in the area have slowly tried to find ways to get back into the daily routines they enjoyed before the extremists took over three years ago. For the hundreds of girls populating the area, that means attending school again, as many parents pulled their children out of school when the terrorists took over in June 2014.
One family, however, decided to keep their young daughter enrolled in school amidst ISIS’s reign. Speaking to Reuters, the young girl described her experience.
“They were bad,” Manar Mahmoud, 13, said. “They used to teach us about jihad (holy war) (and) how to fight.”
But now, Manar is excited to go to school every day.
“We want to learn, we do not want to be ignorant,” she said, speaking on behalf of her peers.
A fellow student by the name of Sara Umar shares Manar’s feelings. Sara Umar, 8, told Reuters she enjoys going to school in the morning instead of staying at home. Teachers and students still, however, feel the looming threat of ISIS.
Every day, the young schoolgirls hear bullets going off and the sounds of airstrikes in Old City, next to eastern Mosul. But Sara and Manar, along with their 148 peers, have some big challenges ahead of them.
An unidentified school director told Reuters, “We have to put girls of different ages and knowledge in one class which creates many problems.” The administrator said that as of now, “We are seeking more guidance from the ministry of education … but not a single official has visited us yet.”
Umm Mohammed, a teacher in the school added, “The school has no running water (or) electricity.”
In addition to these obstacles, teachers are currently working for free as the government has not resumed paying salaries. Though liberated, Mosul has a long way to go before it can be restored to its former state of stability.
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