Damascus, Syria


Photographer: Ibrahim Malla

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Aida Shaaer is in her sixties. For five years, she has taught literacy to displaced women at a Syrian Arab Red Crescent centre in a rural area of Damascus, the Syrian capital. Every day, she travels 20 kilometres to work, crossing many check points along the way. Her travel costs take up almost all her salary. The women in her class have all been moved to Damascus after losing their family homes in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Attending Aida’s classes each day offers them a few hours respite from life in the temporary shelters that are now their homes. Many of them are using their new knowledge to teach their own children, who cannot go to school because of the war.