Syrian Students shouldn’t stop their education!


Last week I went through a very interesting article that described the innovative project that Samsung Corporation executives launched in South Africa. Companies like Samsung have a big demand for shipping containers, and they need to keep their trucks in high efficiency, so every now and then they replace those trucks with newer versions with better performance.

Samsung wanted to take advantage of the old generation of its trucks in a charitable manner rather than selling them, so they decided to turn the trucks and their containers into classes that can be used throughout rural Africa.

And they wanted the idea and implementation of the idea to be as perfect as it could be.


Samsung said: “Electricity remains Africa’s largest economic challenge with the level of penetration lower than 25% in most rural areas. So the project was executed as an off-grid project. To reach that, Samsung provided the trucks with solar panels to provide the classes with electricity as needed.”


Foldaway solar panels provide enough energy to power the classroom’s equipment for up to nine hours a day, and for one and a half days without any sunlight at all. The panels are made from rubber instead of glass to ensure they are hardy enough to survive long journeys across the continent.


The classroom, built inside a 12-metre-long shipping containers by electronics firm Samsung, has an array of educational and electronic learning devices including laptops, a video camera and a 50-inch e-board in  place of a blackboard. According to the manufacturers, the “solar powered internet school” can easily be carried by truck to remote areas, survive harsh weather conditions and, crucially, operate where there is no electricity supply. The classroom has space for 21 pupils and a teacher, and includes a ventilation system designed to maintain a “temperate environment”.

A parallel implementation to improve learning with innovative solutions involves another project developed in collaboration “AllCell,” a leading company in the field of Solar Power and HEV technology. The company designed and executed an off-grid system for a school in rural Angola. The school has been so successful that there is now a need to use the buildings at night for adult classes, but the school lacked sufficient electricity for lighting.

The villages are miles away from the closest electrical transmission line, making a grid connection too expensive. To remedy this problem, AllCell designed a solar lightning system composed of 230W solar panel, 1 KWh Lithium-ion battery. The system provided enough light to illuminate four small classrooms for eight hours per night at a cost of less than 2$ per day. A very advanced terminal management was designed taking into account the high temperature in Angola. A non-profit organization now supports the project, and the school is also being used by the adult students in the evening right now.


These are two separate projects that might provide relevant insights and innovative solutions for Syrian refugee camps, and throughout Syria where power-generation is intermittent and unreliable. Developing self-sustaining power-grid sources and supply will also provide independence for schools, libraries and other learning centers.

It has been almost four year since the conflict started in Syria. Most of the battles took place in residential area, which forced the inhabitants to run away for the neighboring countries, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. Those countries have been very generous. They opened their doors for the escaped people and they also built camps so that they can receive the largest number of refugees. Those camps aren’t completely prepared because they are temporary.

As we all hope and believe, the war will settle down, reach to an end and refugees will get back to their home country, Syria. But till then, the people living in those camps are living under very bad circumstances.

Governments won’t be able to insure every thing for the camps because that is more than what they can handle. To be practical, we can identify at least two primary challenges. Education is the first and most threatening disaster, heating and ventilating is the second one.


We are facing a lost generation as a result of the conflict. Many children have left their schools for almost four-years so far. At some point those children will lose the purposefulness for their education, and they will never take education into account for their future. To ensure a proper education for those children is our responsibility.

If you said that you already lost a lot in this war, I will confirm that, but education was and will always be a red line that we must exceed, because education is our warranty to rebuild the country, education is the winner card that we can rely on.

What we are really looking for right now is to deliver our ideas to companies like Samsung, companies who believe in corporate and global citizenship in order to support innovative ideas and delivery mechanism to address these problems.

I am a pretty sure that a projects like this will be a win-win relation, companies will deliver their messages, and demonstrate the good will of their companies and the industries that they represent. On the other hand projects like this will insure for the children in the camp to continue their education, and will insure for the old people to feel warm in the winter, temperate in the summer.

However, we also believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of all Syrians and our fellow residents of the region. If we must, we will start small and build the companies and the industries ourselves in order to realize our dreams – together, as startups.

If you believe in this idea of self-determination and innovation, if you have an idea to contribute, and would like to help, join us. I can assure you that your efforts and your resolve will be rewarded.

Spread your ideas, learn from others, develop ideas and innovative solutions and work together until your idea and our ideas reach to the right person and the right team in order to make a difference – for Syria, and for those in need across the world.


Education. Children. Our Future. No Excuses. Without Compromise.

Safouh Takrouri

IIT Armour College of Engineering | Expected graduation, December 2014

Safouh can be reached at

About the author:

Born in Damascus, Syria, Safouh Tak is currently a 4th year student at Illinois Institute of Technology with earlier studies at Damascus Univeristy. Safouh’s concentration of study is Electrical Engineering at Illinois Tech with an extensive focus in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability.  While in Syria, Safouh was a participant in one of the earliest cohorts of students whose focus was centered upon the new field of sustainability.  Since arriving at IIT, Safouh and his colleagues are working to develop a “beta organization” to document the current research projects of Syria’s undergraduate and graduate students and to create a forum and platform for knowledge sharing and exchange and to provide a “virtual incubator for ideas” during a period of extreme stress to the higher education network in Syria.  Safouh can we reached at:


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