The Ataa Association for Humanitarian Relief, a nonprofit organization registered in Turkey, established the Ataa Vocational Training Institute in June 2020. The institute was set up in Idlib, about 35 kilometres from the Turkish border in a region outside the Syrian government’s control. It receives financial support from SPARK, a Dutch nongovernmental organization.
In a video published on YouTube, the association said that more than 4,000 candidates applied for the institute’s courses in only one week, of whom 352 were accepted.
“Preference was given to vulnerable groups of people with special needs, widows, and orphans,” Fayadh Shoghari, director of the institute, said in a telephone conversation with Al-Fanar Media.
The institute provides certificates in 12 specialisations for young people between 16 and 30 years old, Shoghari said. Of the 330 male and female students who graduated, more than 40 percent found jobs in their specialisations, while others set up their own businesses.
Those taking its courses include students who were unable to complete their studies in other parts of Syria, where the higher education system has collapsed.
After a study period of between three and six months, graduates obtain an educational certificate. The trades taught include electrical installations, sanitary installations, maintenance of electrical household appliances, maintenance and installation of solar energy systems, sweets and pastry-making, men’s hairdressing, women’s hairdressing, and women’s sewing.
A Desperate Flight to Safety
Al-Amouri said that after his training, he started a business to maintain household appliances in Atma, a town farther north in the Idlib governorate. The town is home to thousands of displaced people from the war zones inside Syria.
In his call to Al-Fanar Media, Al-Amouri described the experience of leaving Kafr Zita.