Going to school in wartime


Lessons continue despite destruction

These girls are attending a class at their school in the Yemeni port city of Hedeidah despite the fact that a wall has been almost completely taken out by a Saudi-led air strike. The country has been enmeshed in a bloody civil war for three years now, and the conflict shows no sign of ending. Saudi Arabia has led a coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015.


Learning in a barn

Syria is another country in the Middle East wracked by civil conflict, with millions displaced and hundreds of thousands killed. Some of the displaced children are seen here being taught in a barn for lack of school buildings in the rebel-held area of Daraa in southern Syria. Chairs are also in short supply, meaning several of the children have been forced to sit on stones instead.


Failed deal

Although Iran and Russia, which both back the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, made a deal with rebel backer Turkey to make Eastern Ghouta a "de-escalation zone" from July, the agreement has been repeatedly violated. This school in the Eastern Ghouta village of Hamouria did not escape damage, and humanitarian workers have warned of a dire situation inside the enclave.


Makeshift school

Syrian children are seen here attending classes in improvised conditions in a rebel-held area of the southern city of Daraa. Although many countries are determined that children in Syria should not become a "lost generation" for lack of schooling, the war is making it difficult and sometimes impossible for lessons to continue.


Return to normality amid signs of war

This wall at a school in the Syrian village of Hazima, north of Raqqa, is full of bullet holes from the war. The extremist group "Islamic State" closed the school and many others in northern Syria when it took over the region in 2014. Now it has been driven out, children can go back to learning normal subjects instead of the extremist propaganda taught by the hardline Islamists.


Games amid ruins

"Where do the children play?" British singer Yusuf Islam, commonly known by his former stage name of Cat Stevens, once asked in a song. These children have found their playground in this damaged school in al-Saflaniyeh in eastern Aleppo province. But one can only wish they had nicer, and safer, surroundings for their games.

With several countries in the Middle East in the grip of conflicts, children there are not only in danger but often miss out on schooling. Efforts are made to keep lessons going, even under dire conditions.