In February 2020, all schools and education centres were closed for Lebanon’s first lockdown to contain the spread of Covid.
Months later, schools remained closed and, with the mounting costs driven by the economic crisis, few with alternative plans to continue providing education services during the pandemic. As a result, Lebanese public schools began to take in more paying students, therefore, decreasing their capacity to admit Syrian students.
This was the case for 6-year-old Rawan, a young Syrian girl living in a refugee camp in Bekaa Valley with her mother. Rawan had been excited to enrol in the Lebanese official school but after its closure in March, she fell out of the education system.
Fortunately, this didn’t deter her ambitions; far from it! When Rawan noticed the SAWA team (the school we fund) distributing handouts in her camp, she was determined to participate and asked for some worksheets of her own to complete. From then on, she has been included in the weekly distribution.
“Though she is given a week to solve the handouts, she finishes them within a day or two after receiving them,” says Rawan’s mother with a proud smile. “The handouts are good and clear to understand. I don’t even help her with her homework unless she approaches me for a challenging exercise.”
SAWA has been very successful in reaching pupils and other children that would otherwise be out of school, leading to a positive community feel within the students’ makeshift camps. However, the country’s worsening economic conditions and dwindling government support are culminating in a situation where there are too few resources for the increasing number of individuals in need.
“I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to continue her education like me, but I am happy to have you by her side” Rawan’s mother continues.
As the ongoing crises and challenges are set to continue; the negative consequences on mental wellbeing, development, and overall resilience are undeniable. Creating gaps that become harder and harder to overcome. It remains more important than ever to support education for these children. Pupils like Rawan – determined and eager to learn – are the perfect reminder why.