Empowering Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
Education is a protective factor for young refugees. It helps them rebuild hope, fosters integration and can instil a sense of normalcy in lives that have been shattered by violence, conflict and poverty. The Syrian war has led to wide-scale displacement and put considerable pressure on hosting countries, especially in the education system. In Lebanon, around 300,000 Syrian child refugees are currently out of school despite the government’s huge efforts. IECD’s Janah Centre in Beirut, launched in 2007, welcomes children and teens from vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese families alike. Offering academic support, extracurricular activities and psychological guidance, the Centre helps build harmony in a chronically underserved neighbourhood.
A refuge for the region’s minorities for centuries, Lebanon remains the country hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. According to independent and government sources, up to 1.5 million Syrians — around a quarter of the Lebanese population — have taken refuge in Lebanon since 2011. More than 75% live below the poverty line and some 500,000 of them are children.
Despite the efforts of the Lebanese Ministry of Education, which allows child refugees to enrol in state schools free of charge and without any need for a residence permit, more than 300,000 are out of school. This is largely a result of parents not being able to afford the transport, of child labour, and of a lack of language and psychological support.
Launched in 2007 to meet the needs of child refugees in Lebanon, the Janah Centre in Beirut has become a community venue that welcomes children and teens aged between 7 and 17 from vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese families.
The centre provides:
- Learning support for children who are not in school and remedial education classes for those with major learning difficulties
- Extracurricular activities and psychosocial support to help children overcome trauma and distress
Support for parents to help them face the often critical situations linked to their refugee status or environment.
- 535 children and youths receive daily basic education or education support and participate in personal development activities. They are also provided with free transport to increase attendance and a daily snack to foster learning and development.
Present in Lebanon with a multi-disciplinary team since 1989, IECD has built a dense and varied network of partners in the region (ministries, municipalities, local associations, technical schools and confessional organisations, etc.), allowing it to work effectively in an extremely challenging environment.