Community and Beyond!

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 15, 2020
A student at the Sanad Center Preschool practices writing the alphabet. The preschool curriculum includes learning both Arabic and English.
PORD for USAID

USAID’s Community and Preschool Programs Adapt and Respond to COVID-19 Challenges

"I can really feel proud that I was part of this beautiful project; everyone is eager to register for the next academic year. Working at the Sanad Center Preschool is important to me as an individual because it gave me an opportunity to feel that I am part of this community and that I can contribute something (with children especially) to rebuilding the Qaraqosh community."

Despite obstacles due to the pandemic, The Sanad Center Preschool has worked tirelessly to adapt and continue to provide important educational opportunities for the children of Qaraqosh, as well as their families. In late September, the Sanad Center Preschool in Qaraqosh celebrated the successful graduation of all sixty members of its second cohort of preschool students. With new COVID-19 safety measures in place, the school was unable to hold a traditional ceremony with all families in attendance, but Sanad remains immensely proud of these students’ accomplishments. 

The Sanad Center Preschool opened in December 2019 thanks to funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This funding came as part of USAID’s New Partnership Initiative (NPI) award to the Philadelphia Organization for Relief and Development. “Sanad”, the Arabic word for “support,” is a fitting name for a center that was established to help the people of Qaraqosh recover and to rebuild, with special services provided to the disabled and survivors of violence committed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

The Sanad Center Preschool is making a quality education possible for the families of Qaraqosh. Tuition is free and the preschool offers transport to and from for students. 

Reflecting on the program, Sanad’s head preschool teacher said, "Through my interviews with the families of the children and their relatives, I can touch the joy, the happiness, the satisfaction and the reassurance in their words and the positivity in their facial expressions, and I can really feel proud that I was part of this beautiful project; everyone is eager to register for the next academic year. Working at the Sanad Center Preschool is important to me as an individual because it gave me an opportunity to feel that I am part of this community and that I can contribute something (with children especially) to rebuilding the Qaraqosh community. "

The Sanad Center has also made strides in uplifting other members of the community by offering both English as a Second Language (ESL) and computer courses designed with vocational skills in mind. In the wake of COVID-19, The Sanad Center adapted by offering English courses online for teens unable to attend school regularly due to the pandemic. The head of a local school noted that one English as a Second Language  program at Sanad was seeing the same improvements in students’ English language acquisition as three years in a typical school curriculum. Furthermore, 69 percent of preschool parents who have taken courses at Sanad Center said that they have found the Center’s job preparation courses helpful in seeking employment. These courses are offered both to parents of preschool students and adults in the broader community. 

With the first groups of preschool and professional students cemented as early successes, the Sanad Center is looking forward to expanding these programs and implementing new services for the community. These new programs will include a summer camp for one hundred children ages 4 to 13, and counseling services for survivors of mental and physical traumas. Even with all of the uncertainties and adversities of 2020, USAID’s steadfast commitment to the Sanad Center is helping the community of Qaraqosh feel more hopeful about the future.

 
 

Last updated: January 19, 2021

Share This Page