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Abo Abdo sells his house to contribute to restoring a terrorism-affected school in his town in Al-Ghouta

Here is the story of Mazhar Daghmash (aka Abu Abdo), a Syrian man in his 50s, who sold one of his houses to launch an initiative for rehabilitating a school that was damaged by terrorism in his town of Al-Maleiha in Al-Ghouta of Damascus Countryside. Abu Abdo's initiative is part of the local community's contribution to the government's efforts to rehabilitate terrorism-affected schools.

After the liberation of Al- Ghouta from the terrorist groups by the Syrian Arab Army in 2018, Abu Abdo went to his town to check what the terrorists had done. The heartbreaking images of destruction in the school as well as the burned books and black walls urged him to work hard in cooperation with the local community in the town with the aim of restoring life to the school.

 Talking to SANA while standing besides the fountain that he built in the  middle of the school, Abu Abdo said that "the way the terrorists dealt with us during the years of the war showed the extent of their hatred and enmity to education."

"My wife, as a school principal, used to assemble the students in one of the undamaged schools in the town to help them continue their education despite the terror created in the area by the terrorist groups," he said.

Abu Abdo recalled some incidents that occurred in the town when it was under the terrorists' control.

"With the eruption of the terrorist war on Syria in 2011, the terrorists tried to incite the locals in Al-Mleiha to take part in the demonstrations that took place there. They  forced many youths to carry weapons against their government and those who refuse to obey the orders were called agents who must be punished, like what happened to me and my wife," he said.

In addition, Abu Abdo said, the terrorists of Jaish Al-Islam" terror group, which controlled Al-Ghouta, treated the children badly and prevented students from going to school. They cancelled some subjects in the government curricula and replaced them with another one that reflects an extremist and terrorist mentality.

He pointed out that the threats he and his family received from terrorists forced him to leave Al-Mleiha to the neighboring town of Saqba.

"The terrorists kidnapped and imprisoned me five times, but God's will saved me. Those terrorists don't fear God," said Abu Abdo , stressing that "the moment the Syrian Arab Army entered Al-Mleiha, hope returned to the town. It was similar to a sunrise after a long dark night."

"When I returned to the town I was overwhelmed with the idea of restoring the damaged schools, because the students, who saw the terrorists' acts of violence, killing, beheading and vandalism, need much work and care to eradicate these painful memories from their minds and replace them with positive and constructive images that contribute to rebuilding  society, particularly as the terrorists sought to wash the brains of the children and sow seeds of hatred against their army and state," Abu Abdo clarified.

"Today, everything has changed, children are now playing happily and safely in the courtyard of the school," said Abo Abdo who everyday spends most of his time working in the school garden and teaching  the student how to plant flowers and fruit trees besides the lessons they get from their teachers and now they love their school more than ever," he added.

Hamda Mustafa

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