The Need for Refugee education
Nawfal, a refugee from Syria, has a new home in an informal settlement in the Beka’a Valley in Lebanon. Like thousands of other children in the area, he does not go to school. For most of the day, he hangs around or plays with other children amid the rubbish, open sewers and mud. They have no toys, no playground, and no hope to get home. “I miss my school,” Nawfal said. “I never missed a day of school in Syria. I miss my books the most. I miss reading.” (UNHCR)
Unfortunately, Nawfal’s story is a common theme among displaced children; as global conflicts ravage their homes, their access to education becomes restricted. In fact, 65 percent of primary and secondary refugee adolescents have no school to go to. Powers beyond these children’s control are forcing tens of millions them to put their lives on hold and watch their opportunities crumble.
In contrast, Mohammad, a refugee in Lebanon given access to primary and secondary education just last year in grade 9, scored the second-highest mark nationwide in the official exam. “You must learn and study to have your place in society and to have knowledge about everything because we will need to rebuild Syria one day,” he said, exhorting other refugee children to enroll in school. By educating tomorrow’s leaders, be they engineers, poets, doctors, scientists, philosophers or computer programmers, we can ensure that once the Refugee Crisis is resolved, those who were displaced have the tools to rebuild their lives.
It is imperative to recognize that the loss of education for 30 million displaced students does not just impact their lives. It hurts their families, communities, and their country. If these children cannot receive an education, they will lack the tools needed to usher in peace and economic growth, giving way to a perpetual cycle of devastation and displacement. In other words, by educating refugee students, we could have a lasting impact in bringing stability and peace to the international community.
Students For Refugees is currently funding The Sal School, a school for 150 Syrian Refugee Children in Ibrid, Jordan, working in tandem with The Syria Fund and The Middle Eastern Children's Institute. We provide opportunities for refugee families to create a sense of normalcy after experiencing tremendous hardships over these last 7 years of conflict, families that often are underserved by large, mainstream aid organizations. In the face of this enormous humanitarian crisis, we focus our efforts on cities in Jordan with significant populations of Syrians living outside of UN-organized refugee camps. Our program provides a full education in Math, Science, Arabic, and History for children from 6-12 years old, with additional program in Music and Physical Education (provided by S'cool Sounds) and a school bus to grant physical access to the school. Email us to learn more and how you can help! Coming to the website soon: a blog with updates on our school!