Equality is not just an ideal.
It’s not just something we can sit around and hope for.
It is something we have to create.
It starts with education.
That’s why Hands Up have been working with our partner, SAWA for Development & Aid for the last four years, to deliver education to 280 children in the Bekaa Valley. Here, girls and boys receive equal treatment and access to education, with 50% of pupils being girls. This is a vital step towards achieving equality.
In Lebanon, the stakes could not be higher. In 2021, 30% of school-aged refugee children (aged 6-17) had never been to school, and only 11% of youth (aged 15-24) were enrolled in education. In the same year, over 35% of children stopped education. This all comes due to an extreme financial crisis, in which, if they even have access to education, many families cannot afford to send their children to school as instead they need them to work to put food on the table.
Currently, a quarter of the population in Lebanon is made up of Syrian refugees (1.5 million people). To accommodate for these students, a second, afternoon shift was created in public schools. These were the only opportunity Syrian students had to receive official certificates and be enrolled in official programmes in the Lebanese Education System. Now, this is under threat. A recent announcement by the Director General of MEHE called for the suspension of the afternoon shift for Syrian refugee students in public schools. This violates Syrian students right to education.
SAWA’s education centre is not a public school, and therefore, is able to continue operating to provide students with a chance to access their right to education.
Without education, the consequences can be dire. Girls are often hit the hardest, becoming vulnerable to forced marriage and sex work.
This is not the future we, or the teachers at SAWA’s education centre, dream of for children like Rimas. She wants to “stay in school for ten years and more”, to become a doctor “to cure the children”. Thanks to your support, she will have the chance to do this.
She spoke of the time in which she was forced to leave school, to provide an income for her family. “I dropped the school for two years. I was sitting at home doing nothing and having nothing to study… I used to cry a lot because I wasn’t studying, but now that I am finally back here I feel very happy. I started crying out of happiness.”
You can help us to give girls like Rimas the education they deserve, and the best possible chance in life by donating now. Thank you.