Helping Syrian refugee children access education

24 February 2020

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Players of People's Postcode Lottery are supporting almost 300 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon to receive a high quality education, with a bespoke curriculum, from trained refugee teachers.

Charity Children on the Edge makes a difference for thousands of marginalised children, living on the edge of their societies around the world. Partnering with local communities, it creates safe, child-friendly environments where children are supported to realise their rights through the generation of hope, life, colour and fun.

Nine years into the Syrian crisis, neighbouring Lebanon remains the country with the largest number of refugees per capita. Syrian children in the informal refugee settlements of Bekaa Valley struggle to access mainstream education and those who do are often subject to discrimination, abuse, language barriers and unsafe journeys to and from school.

Sophie Poore, Grants Manager at Children on the Edge, said: "Initially work here attracted significant support, but five years on the media spotlight has moved on, donors are tired of this protracted crisis, and funding has plummeted."

Throughout 2020, People's Postcode Lottery players will be supporting safe, child-friendly refugee education and care for children, through a dedicated refugee school in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The school is located in Zahle and accommodates nearly 300 children who, until a year ago, were learning in tent schools, supported by Children on the Edge across four refugee camps.

Together with trained Syrian refugee teachers, hundreds of children are bussed in from the camps each day to learn together in a safe, fun environment with lots of space to play outside.

Mariam is a parent of one of the children who attend the school in Zahle.

She said: "My daughter is so happy! She loves to learn and tell me about what she learned! I love so much about the school. The creativity of the teachers, the songs and the letters my daughter has learned."

Funds raised by players will improve opportunities for children, both helping them recover from what they have been through and ensuring a level of academic progress that will stand them in good stead should a return to Syria be possible.

Players are also supporting some exciting new programme areas focusing on computer and vocational training.

10 year old Iman fled to Lebanon with her family when the conflict in Syria became too dangerous. She now lives in a refugee settlement and comes to the school each day.

She said: "I like to learn computer, English, and maths but my favourite lesson is drawing. I want to be an artist when I grow up and for people to say, 'she is a talented artist, her work is beautiful'."