Back to school again: an interview with Qayyarah school headmaster
12-04-2018 | di COOPI

Back to school again: an interview with Qayyarah school headmaster

The small city of Qayyarah has suffered, and is still suffering, the harmful aftermaths of the deeds done by ISIS in Syria. Throughout the last months, the city was targeted multiple times and numerous buildings were set on fire and/or destroyed, forcing massive displacements and the loss of livelihoods for several members of the local communities.

In March 2018, COOPI has had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Shahir Ahmed Khalaf, headmaster of the boys’ school in Qayyarah, razed by the terrorist group. Here, through a project carried out in collaboration with local NGO AFKAR and financed by AICS (the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation), COOPI has been helping young students to continue their education despites the dramatic situation.

Mister Khalaf, thanks a lot for the interview and for your time. First of all, if you wish, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Shahir Ahmed Khalaf, headmaster of the Qayyarah school for boys. I’m from Iraq and I’m 60 years old.

Could you give me some information about this city, Qayyarah?
Yes. Qayyarah is a nice, beautiful, small city in the South of Mosul, lying on the west bank of the Tigris river in the Nineveh Governorate.  Its name comes from the Arabiq word for “tar”, as the area is rich with high-quality oil and sulphur.

If I may ask, what happened to the school?
It was damaged by airstrikes, shooting 4 rockets. Me and the teachers went to the school in the morning and we found a flat land- there was no building anymore.

What did COOPI and AFKAR do for the new temporary school here?
COOPI provided 8 caravans, generators, desks, stationaries for each pupil. It also gave us maps of the world and of Iraq, as you can see here. They helped us in allowing our pupils to continue their studies.

What is the most important thing that COOPI and AFKAR contributed to in this school?
We thank them for helping us to stand on our legs and to go on- to continue the learning and the work with our pupils.

What about the students? Have you seen any change in them after the start of the recreational and education activities?
Our students are very happy whenever they see the caravans. This gives them the motivation to study hard and to get high marks in their final examinations.

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Watch the interview here.