Children on the Edge focuses on supporting overlooked children and has a 30 year track record of overcoming barriers to create safe spaces for children and deliver quality refugee education programmes in some of the most volatile places on earth.
Thanks to generous funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, the Syrian refugee children and communities we support in Lebanon are benefiting enormously.
We are grateful to the Players of People's Postcode Lottery who have been supporting our programme in Lebanon, offering education in a safe space for Syrian refugees, since 2020. We'd like to share with you the impact this support has had over the past few years, and what difference it has made to the refugee children we work with.....
YOUR IMPACT IN LEBANON
Education is universally recognised as one of the most powerful tools for lifting excluded children out of poverty and into society. Players’ funding means that 196 Syrian refugee children living in camps in Lebanon can continue going to school on our buses, and enjoy a holistic education, including IT lessons, sports activities and vocational classes.
The purpose-built, four storey school in Zahle offers a safe space, where children are supported by refugee teachers, who understand their situation and can offer care and support. As the Syrian children we support continue to live in fragile, insecure settings and their primary need is to feel secure, the school offers a much-loved haven away from the bleak camps where risk of intimidation by Lebanese authorities is high. As a result, a brighter future awaits these children.
Our partner, Triumphant Mercy (TM) offered home learning and support for the students through lockdown; over the phone, online and through assignment packs delivered to the students at home until schools reopened in May 2021.
The students were so thrilled to get back to school in 2021, and a normal routine resumed quickly. Thanks to the exceptional commitment of the teachers during lockdown, the students had not fallen behind. After just one week of revision they all moved on with the curriculum and started new topics.
The school has been able to open two new classes, one for older children who have never been to school, and an extra preschool class. Children in Grades 1-7 participate in sewing or carpentry classes and all students receive computer training and enjoy dance classes and a football group (using a proper offsite pitch). These co-curricular classes are hugely popular.
The carpentry students in particular have been thriving, even building small tables for the classroom. Computer and sewing classes are also offered to local and refugee adults offering them valuable skills and potential for employment or income.
17 new Grade 9 students enrolled in September 2021 and have recently taken their high school exams in Syria. The Grade 9 class of 2021 all passed their exams; the only school in Lebanon to achieve 100% pass rate and the class this year did just as well. The success of the Grade 9 classes over the past two years is now inspiring younger pupils. Enabling children to take their formal high school exams back in Syria and improve their prospects should a return home ever be possible, is one of the big success stories of People's Postcode Lottery support in Lebanon over the past few years.
The Grade 9 students were able to use their sewing and carpentry skills in the autumn term last year to make a difference in their communities. They came up with the idea of repairing damaged tents in the camps ahead of the cold weather arriving and collecting and mending clothes to be distributed to their neighbours.
A new ‘Shine’ programme for 17 girls, aged 12-14, designed to boost self esteem and confidence has been introduced with much success. These classes are full of laughter and smiles. The girls who are taking part have grown in confidence and improved their ability to formulate their own ideas and make decisions. They now dream about their future and express their feelings.
A counsellor was employed last year 2021 to help the children cope with their emotions after lockdown. She is also able to identify any potential issues related to trauma or abuse amongst the children.
All the children enjoy regular celebrations, like graduation ceremonies and summer trips to celebrate the end of the school year. These often involved dancing and cake! The children get excited about these trips and celebrations and talk about them all year. They offer a chance for them to enjoy time together, away from the worries of home and their studies at school.
Thanks to the purchase of a generator, along with a fuel store, classes have been able to continue and minibuses operate amidst fuel shortages and crippling price rises in Lebanon. The school building also offers a safe space for the children to stay warm, away from the freezing temperatures they experience in canvas shelters in the camps through the winter early in 2022.
Seidra also loves her teacher Ansa Wudad. Seidra describes how Ansa will explain a topic to her over and over again until she understands it: “Just like when you're washing dishes, you must run the water over the dish until it gets clean. The teacher does the same explaining over and over to us until the class understands”.
Seidra also takes part in the sewing and ‘Shine’ classes for girls. She loves all the different activities and learning new things every day.
“School teaches us everything and without it we wouldn’t learn the skills we need to be successful in life” - SEIDRA AL KEBRU
Hammoud loves to teach, and a regular paycheck gives him the chance to support his family and be with them more. He loves the challenge of working with children with additional needs, and is dedicated to providing creative activities for them. He said, “I have had wonderful mentors and teacher training so I feel very supported and well-equipped in my job.”
Many of our teaching team tell us that becoming a teacher has had a significant impact on their own lives, giving them purpose, pride, social status and an improved financial situation.