Al-Duwailah village is in the northwest countryside of Syria’s Idlib, near the town of Kafr Takharim, and it is considered a small village in terms of area and population. The estimated population is about 3500 people, with 250 families living there in deep poverty under very miserable conditions with no water or proper roads, no sanitation and no healthy life at all. When you visit this village, it brings you back to the olden days of life. The only income for the people living in al-Duwailah is collecting firewood and selling it to the people living in the surrounding areas.
Al-Duwailah is among the dozens of forgotten villages in northern Syria and it lacks even the most basic of services. Like other villages in the northern countryside of Idlib, many families were displaced from the de-escalation zones in the countryside south of Aleppo and the northern and western countryside of Hama. At the present time, the number of displaced persons along with the area’s original inhabitants, suffer from extremely poor living conditions due to the lack of services in the village in the absence of any kind of aid from humanitarian organizations working in northern Syria.
Families live in various forms of makeshift shelters from scattered dilapidated tents on the outskirts of the village, to old or dilapidated houses inside the village without even the basic necessities of life.
Unfortunately, for the internally displaced people living in this unofficial refugee camp there are almost no services at all and since education is important for kids, students are obliged to go walking back and forth to a school about three kms away from the place where they live at the edge of a mountain.
They walk daily through the mountains with their teacher and many times by themselves. Occasionally a passing car will stop and pick them up which is much appreciated on especially chilly days.
The school is located on top of a mountain.
This school lacks the minimum of basic requirements for students. There are only three unheated classrooms with makeshift blackboards and crude seats for the children.
All teachers are volunteers and they are doing their best to keep students up to date with their education.
Hope is present every day in this school, hope that tomorrow will be better and that someday someone or some organization will show up with support for this school. That is their own best hope for a brighter future.
All photos credit: Fared Al Mahloul