“I never thought of returning to school,” said 15-year-old Darine Awad, who dropped out in the fourth grade.
“This is also the case for my six other siblings who all dropped out," she added.
Leaving school early is not uncommon in Rashidiyeh camp in southern Lebanon, where Darine lives. Nor is it uncommon in other refugee camps in Lebanon.
In fact, Syrian children drop out of school at an astonishing rate of 70 percent. And around 20 percent of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon also leave school early. Many refugee children never even get a chance to go to school. An estimated 400,000, or half, of all school-age Syrians in Lebanon are not enrolled.
Syrian and Palestinian refugees face a number of barriers to get an education in Lebanon. Schools are terribly overcrowded. The teaching language is different – Arabic in Syria and English or French in Lebanon. And young people often want to support their families by finding work.
Anera is turning things around for these refugees by bringing kids back into the system through basic math, language and job-skill courses at convenient times and locations.
In Anera’s classes, students learn in a positive and encouraging environment. “The way we are treated here is different – the teachers are more patient and they give us incentives to learn,” said Darine.
Refugees in Rashidiyeh Camp Get Tools to Succeed
For refugee families struggling daily just to pay the rent and feed themselves, purchasing school supplies is out of the question. That’s why Anera delivered kits containing pens, pencils and notebooks, which arrived just in time for the start of classes.
The donated kits helped 14-year-old Walaa Muteir, who said she is determined to pursue her education and become a doctor. Walaa’s father is a driver and can barely support his family. “My older brother dropped out of school to help him,” she said, “but then he couldn’t find a job.”
The shipment of 10,700 school kits, donated by United Methodist Committee on Relief, also came with 25,000 hygiene kits. Anera delivered the kits to thousands of children and youth pursuing their education in Lebanon.