When parents flee their country in a hurry, scared of the bombings that killed one of their children, parents become numb. They find refuge in a deserted place, and a tent becomes their new house. Parents raise their children with anything they can get, and they accept the idea that everything they worked for their whole life is gone, and they have nothing to inherit their children except skills and education.
In partnership with UNICEF and funds from FCDO (UKAID) and France, World Vision Lebanon provides 40 refugee children, aged between 10 and 14, not enrolled in the formal education system with "Basic Literacy and Numeracy" (BLN) education, in Akkar, North of Lebanon.
Their first-ever learning adventure.
In 2017, the war in Syria took the life of Rawan and Reem's brother and left the girls in shock.
The next thing the family did was gather what they had left and escape to Lebanon. Witnessing such a horrific incident left the family traumatized, and the move left the girls with no clear future.
By the time the family arrived in Lebanon and settled down in an informal tented settlement in Akkar, a couple of years have passed where the girls did not have access to any form of education. With both parents who cannot read and write, the siblings only hope to learn anything was to be enrolled in any education programme, "one day, I said to my father that my future is over", says Reem, 12.
Abed, their father, understands the importance of education, "For a person who did not have a chance to finish his education, I did everything I could to keep my children from this fate,” he says with sorrow. He and his wife Sahar were eager to provide the girls with a better future. But with the spread of COVID, they felt that they might fail them. "When we learned that the centre is closing due COVID and the girls might stop learning, we felt disappointed, but with remote learning, hope was at sight,” Abed states.
Before the lockdown, the girls attended “face to face” classes at the centre with their teacher Marwa. "Despite their shy personalities, the girls showed a significant interest in learning and a big improvement. I was observing them either at the centre or during the remote sessions, I felt how much they progressed," she says happily.
The boy with the green future
Hussein is an 11-year-old boy who lives in Akkar with his family after fleeing Syria six years ago. He spends his days exploring the world of agriculture. "He is so passionate when it comes to plants; he is out all day growing, watering and taking care of his plants," says his mother Mona. Like most refugees, Hussein's family arrived in Lebanon with barely any belongings, "When you hear bombings in the middle of the night, you don't think of anything but getting your children out safely," she shares.
After Hussein was registered with World Vision in the BLN programme, he felt lucky. "I had little education before now, and when the classes began I was happy because I love to learn," he says.
Hussein's enthusiasm towards education comes from his mother's constant prayers to see him and his siblings finishing school, "we have nothing else to give them", Mona says. When it comes to education and his future, Hussein takes it very seriously, "I want to improve and study agriculture, so I understand plants more,” he says.
Children like Rawan, Reem and Hussein might have gone through their lives without any form of education. Thanks to the “Supporting vulnerable girls and boys to remain in education in Lebanon” project, those children will be able to imagine a future away from the horrible experiences they went through and their parents with peace of mind that they can provide their children and allow them to dream of a better future.