Members of the UNRWA Ras al-Ein School Informatics Club proudly celebrate their victory at the Kids and Adolescents Programming Marathon. (UNRWA photo)
Four Palestinian refugee students won the Kids and Adolescents Programming Marathon organized by the Syrian Virtual University in cooperation with the Agency for Excellence and Creativity in Damascus.
Some 213 children from across Syria participated in this annual event. The UNRWA Informatics Club members, however, swept away the competition, with 14-year old Majd Abdul Aziz winning the gold medal, followed by colleagues Abdallah Odeh and Mahmoud Hameed who won silver. Wisam Jaber managed to secure a bronze medal.
All three students have grown up through the conflict in Syria, now in its tenth year. Each has been displaced multiple times from their homes in Yarmouk refugee camp. It is through education that they continue to dream of the future.
"It makes me happy to offer my students the chance to develop their skills with activities that supplement the curriculum. I'm amazed and humbled by their talent and enthusiasm about computer technology," said their IT teacher Rana Kamleh. "We want children to believe they can achieve things they never thought were possible, to gain self-confidence and to help each other as a team. The entire club was incredibly excited when we subscribed to the 'Kids and Adolescents Programming Marathon' this year and we celebrated the victory together.”
“It is the support of our teacher Rana, the entire school, our colleagues and our families that made this success possible. It's been a long time that I haven't been so happy," said Majd. "We are all very proud and surprised at the same time. We could only train on very limited and basic equipment, but we worked very hard and we supported and encouraged each other."
His colleagues Abdallah, Mahmoud and Wisam added: "Much of the IT process actually relies on creativity and problem-solving. This field provides you with the unique opportunity to use your technical skills and to come up with innovative solutions. Our motivation and inspiration made us overcome technical challenges, as we have overcome many other difficult situations in our lives."