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Almost 40% of Syrian refugee children living in Turkey are out of school.

Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, the largest number in the world. The majority live among host communities with limited access to basic social services. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children, with enrolment rates at upper secondary level at just over 32%.

Financial constraints, language barriers, bullying, violence and overcrowding in schools make it harder for Syrian refugees to learn in Turkish schools. Additionally, most teachers are not trained to create an environment that is sensitive to students who don't speak Turkish and come from different cultural backgrounds. Girls already face the threat of early marriage and these obstacles further contribute to high levels of dropouts. 

Our work in Turkey

In Turkey, Malala Fund Education Champions are working to increase enrolment and retention rates for out-of-school refugee children. Champion Metin Çorabatır and his team at the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) are working to facilitate secondary education access for refugee girls through direct engagement with teachers and parents, as well as advocacy with local authorities and opinion leaders.  At YUVA, Champion Özge Sönmez Vardar is developing an inclusive and multicultural educational model with Hacettepe University.

From 2017-2019, Education Champion Network alum Gamze Karadağ Koc led Mavi Kalem's engagement with key stakeholders, working directly with the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of National Education (PDoNE) on a research project surveying 250 Syrian refugee students and teachers to determine the best ways for the government to support their needs.

“Schooling rates decrease as refugee girls get older. For these children to continue their education, we need to create a student-friendly environment, connect them to the school, the curriculum and their families.”

— Dr. Metin Çorabatır, Founder and President, IGAM

Today, Malala Fund supports 3 Education Champions in Turkey.


Turkish NGO calls for global cooperation on refugees
Life as a Syrian refugee in Turkey during the COVID-19 crisis
A look back: highlights from Malala Fund’s work in 2019

Where we Work

Malala Fund works in regions where the most girls miss out on secondary education.