A Tent For Teaching in Lebanon
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“I come four days a week, and I always try to be a good student. Back in Syria, I was the best in my class, but war came and we had to move here to live in these small tents. Sometimes I forget what fun is. I stay in my tent for days doing nothing but staring into space. When the program started, I registered my name right away.
I never miss a class. This tent is like my happy place now. I really hope that we can continue in this program because without it, most of us would learn nothing and do nothing.”
— Shady, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee in Hosh Hareem Camp (cover photo above)
Twenty students are gathered under a tent in an informal Syrian refugee camp in the Bekaa region of Lebanon. Most of the youths left school at a young age as a result of the Syrian civil war and couldn’t continue their education in Lebanon due to financial and bureaucratic hurdles.
Anera, in partnership with the Amel Association, is providing non-formal instruction to students, aged 15 to 25, living in the Hosh Hareem refugee camp. The non-formal educational program, which began in May, provides Arabic, math and life skills courses. The classes will continue through the end of the year. While these young people are learning, they are also having fun and finding an escape from the difficulties of their daily lives.
Through the refugee education courses, some students are directed to an accelerated learning program or to formal education in Lebanese schools. Other students develop these competencies to keep up with their peers and to enter the job market.
“I love coming here because it feels more like home to me than the tent we are staying in. Not only do I study here, but I meet new friends, learn new skills, and gain experiences that will help me in life.
When I am sad, happy, mad — in any mood really, I come here and forget all the bad stuff I am living through right now. My family and I are refugees, and all the people who are living here in the camp are refugees, so we have no choice but to wait until the war is over and then go back to our houses. While waiting, I’d rather fill my time doing something useful, instead of sitting inside my tent doing nothing.”
— Ismael, a 17-year-old Syrian refugee at Hosh Hareem Camp
“I was a teacher back in Syria. When I came to Lebanon during the war I had only one goal in my mind — and that was to help the kids that left school back in Syria and have had no chance to continue their education here. I believe that as a teacher, my duty is to help raise a better generation. The most important thing now, for me, is that these kids at Hosh Hareem camp get the best of me, and that they learn skills that they can use in the near future.
I really want to thank Anera and Amel, and I hope the program continues because these kids really need hope.”
— Salam Al Samra, an Arabic and life skills teacher at Hosh Hareem Camp