Last month a group of Grade 9 refugee students from the school we support in Lebanon crossed the border and returned to Syria to take their high school exams. Taking their exams in Syria enables the children to prepare for their future, allowing them to continue their education if and when a return to their home country is possible. It was a major achievement for the children, their parents and our team, which took a huge amount of planning and preparation.
Our partners in Lebanon spent months negotiating to get permission to enable the group to cross the border. There was a serious risk that the students and teachers, who accompanied them, would face 14 days confinement in a prison-like space and not be permitted to return to Lebanon.
Unfortunately, the first attempt to take the exams had to be stopped as the border situation worsened and our partners learned that a group of 12th grade students from another programme who went back to Syria for exams were not permitted to return. Consequently we had to wait for the situation to improve, rather than risk sending the children into the unknown.
As well as their qualifications, the students have gained an incredible amount from their learning, with one girl saying “We get to know other people. I get to know other ways of thinking”. Not only this, but interviews with teachers have revealed how the older girls learning have given hope to some of the younger students who assumed their parents wouldn’t let them study at a later age.
Ibtisam is one of the Grade 9 students, she has been attending the school we support in Lebanon from the start and has never been to a formal school. Her mother also teaches at the school.
Ibtisam has been studying hard to prepare for her exams in Syria. Her whole family has supported her. It was hard for them to hear about the delays and restrictions caused by the border situation but they were delighted to see her succeed and know that Ibtisam’s hard work will give her a brighter future.
Children on the Edge has been working with marginalised children since 1990, helping them realise their rights and breaking down the barriers to education. Find out more about our work in Lebanon, supporting education for nearly 300 Syrian refugee children.
Children on the Edge has been awarded £250,000 from Postcode Global Trust to fund its work providing education for Syrian refugees. Postcode Global Trust is funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.