Frontline Stories

Education Provides Hope for Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon

"Don't be scared, the bombs will not hit us." Those are not the words of a mother reassuring her child, those are the words of Jouri, an 8- year-old girl, reassuring her mother while bombs were falling close to them in the Yarmouk area, in Syria.

Jouri is a brave girl, but she and her two siblings were still frightened. She knew that with every bomb and explosion, someone would be killed. "We saw the planes, some passed very close over our heads," she says.

Yarmouk, a Palestinian camp inside Syria, became the scene of intense fighting and was heavily bombed last October. Jouri and her family are Palestinian, but were born and have lived all their lives in Syria. Jouri and her family had to run for their lives, leaving behind everything: their house, their business and Jouri's favourite place, her school.

"There were still unexploded bombs inside the school, we could not send our children there anymore," said Hala, Jouri's mother. Telling this news to Jouri was not easy, not only because she is a brilliant student, but also because she loves education and she is keen to do whatever it takes to stay in school.

"When we first came to Lebanon, I had been asking my dad to register me in school, but he kept telling me there is no place for me," adds Jouri. The Lebanon Ministry of Education authorised its public schools to accept Syrian refugee children at the beginning of this academic year, but space is limited and the educational infrastructure is poor. Also, most of Syrian refugee children struggle with language difficulties because the Syrian educational curriculum is in Arabic, whereas the Lebanese system includes English and French. For Jouri, these hurdles would have been worth it, if it meant finding a place where she can learn.

World Vision has recently launched some educational projects for Syrian refugee children. 120 out-of-school children have participated in an accelerated learning programme to better prepare themselves for enrolment in schools when possible. They have the chance to learn languages and other scientific courses.

Another 300 children aged between 9 and 14 years old from the Bekaa area, who got the chance to be enrolled in public schools but are having learning difficulties, will be supported with daily remedial classes to help fill their learning gap. "The longer a child is out of school, the harder it is to catch up with peers and learning," says Lara Lteif, the education project coordinator. "Refugee children are among the most vulnerable to falling behind on education which might cost them their future."

Jouri's aunt, who lives with them, heard of World Vision's educational project in the village where they are currently residing, and immediately registered Jouri and her seven-year- old brother Khaled for this programme.

"Coming here [World Vision's educational project] is the best thing that happened to me since we [left Syria]," says Jouri, who has been in Lebanon with her family for eight months but never complains about living with 16 other family members and relatives in an old two-bedroom apartment.

For now, being in school gives Jouri and other children hopes they need to survive these tough times.

Click here to learn more about the situation of Syrian refugees


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