Today • • 24 February

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Education: Unlocking Their Potential

For thousands of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, attending school is an impossible task; they’re impeded by policies that require certified educational documents, legal status in Lebanon and other official documents that they cannot obtain. 

According to a 2021 UN assessment, Lebanon hosts 660,000 school-age children, however 30% of them – 200,000 children – have never stepped foot in a school, while almost 60% were not enrolled in recent years. School closures have been more frequent since the presence of COVID-19, however even without closure, these refugee children are already facing a battle in getting education.

Based on Human Rights Watch, 40,000 Syrian students have attended non-formal education programs run by humanitarian groups. 

Global Ehsan Relief is proud to be involved in one such program, run by our partner READ Foundation – Our School in a Bus project, located in the Beqaa Camp in Al-Yasamin, Mount Lebanon. 

The bus is permanently located there and the refugee children – the students –  come down from the camps where they are staying. There are a total of 105 students and one class session holds 25 students at one time. The students are assessed every day and every week and it is a 14-weeks course that will give them the basic knowledge needed to join the formal school. 

“You can see how the education programmes initiated by our partners, we are just supporting it, and it has a tremendous impact on the lives of these refugees. Right now we are seeing how it empowers the children, making them confident. Just imagine when they complete their studies, at least complete High School, or if they have the opportunity to continue to University, they can effect change. They don’t get the chance to go to school otherwise. They don’t have the chance to learn the alphabet. This is the only chance they have. And with this, it helps them to go into the mainstream school, they can qualify for it,” shares Haji Basheer Ahmad, CEO of Global Ehsan Relief. 

The curriculum is in line with the Lebanese education system and the objective is ultimately to enrol these students into the Lebanese formal schools. There is a success rate of 80% who have gone on to formal schools while the other 20% are waiting to pass the level of proficiency required. 

Among these refugee children, many have suffered intense emotional and mental trauma. Equipping them with education and personal development skills are crucial in ensuring that these future adults receive the emotional support, education and training to succeed in their life.

“They don’t get the chance to go to school otherwise. They don’t have the chance to learn the alphabet. This is the only chance they have.”

Basheer Ahmad Ali, CEO, Global Ehsan Relief

At the School in a Bus, there are not just educators around for the students, but also doctors, nutritionists and psychologists to ensure that the welfare of the students are taken care of. Specific programmes are designed to ensure that at-risk children, who have suffered traumatic events, are able to heal from their trauma. 

“For example in one lesson, I asked the students to draw what is in their mind. It’s a simple art and craft lesson, but from their drawing, I can tell what is bothering them,” shares nutritionist and psychologist Reen Mayta. 

Hence the School in a Bus is not just about education – it is also about learning new crafts, colours, recreational activities and it’s a very great way of implementing fun activities and how the children learn. It is an all-encompassing curriculum that can be used for the long term.

“I’m very happy to see the schools and it’s important that we continue to support them. If not, they will be illiterate. Not uneducated, but illiterate! That is two different things. 

Personally, we also saw the beautiful change. The children become more confident, they are not afraid to talk, to engage with other people, especially strangers. And even their parents are impressed that they are able to learn, read and write. The parents are very happy to see the change in their child, not just becoming more intelligent, but becoming more obedient, more disciplined.”

It is evident that programmes such as our School in a Bus project with READ Foundation, have borne a positive, everlasting impact on the refugee children. Our team witnessed how confident these children are in class, and it is clear how empowering education can be. The gift of education is a lifelong present that will change their lives. 

We invite you to join us in unlocking the potential for our refugee children by giving them much-needed access to quality education. By contributing to our Care for Education campaign, you will be unlocking the door to a better life for these children.