The countries on the border of Syria have seen a massive influx of refugees, on a completely different scale to what other countries have seen. In Lebanon, one in every three people is now a refugee (up from one in eight before the war). This sudden change has overwhelmed public services in these countries and has left those refugees, the most in need of these services, unsupported.
In particular, a large number of children refugees have been left without access to public education. In many cases, they will have already missed key years in their early education, due to the breakdown of services in the areas affected by conflict. Without urgent support, the children risk becoming a so-called “lost generation”.
Our aim is to prevent this educational deficit. We have established three non-formal schools in Lebanon: in Beirut, Arsal and Saida. In each of these schools, we run a core programme for the younger refugee children with the aim of preparing them for entry tests into the Lebanese public education system. We also run ‘catch-up’ education programmes for older children who are over the age of compulsory education, and consequently have reduced access to the public system. Finally, we offer literacy programmes for younger and older refugee women, as a means of empowering them to navigate a new world.
Our programmes are designed according to modern practices of participative, creative and holistic learning. The modules taught include awareness sessions, life skills courses and psychosocial support for children and young people (particularly for the many who have lost a parent).
Additionally, we run first aid courses and raise awareness on the importance of hygiene and public health, including the prevention and treatment of diseases such as leishmaniasis and tuberculosis.