UNESCO, Kayany Foundation launches schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
April 24, 2019 | 7:52 PM
UNESCO, Kayany Foundation Launches Middle Schools For Syrian Refugees In Lebanon.

Beirut: The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States and Kayany Foundation launched the UNESCO Middle Schools for Syrian Refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon.

The schools have been established as part of UNESCO’s “Supporting the Completion of Basic Education for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon” project and are funded by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre and implemented in partnership with Kayany Foundation.

The project intends to widen education opportunities, progressing and pathways, and ensure retention for at risk Syrian students in Lebanon, especially at the middle and high school levels. It links to ongoing initiatives related to the education of the Syrians in Lebanon, trying to fill the gap and complement recent efforts.

A number of distinguished personalities attended the launch event, including Akram Chehayeb, Lebanon's Minister of Education and Higher Education, Nora Joumblatt, Founder of Kayany Foundation, Philippe Lazzarini, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Dr Hamed Al Hammami, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut, and Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.

Al Hammami said, “UNESCO believes in the right of all children to education, regardless of their conditions. That especially holds true for refugee children. Host countries must work to ensure education opportunities for refugee children, because education brings hope, stability and security in the face of psychological stress and difficult social and economic conditions.

Al Hammami added, "In Lebanon, UNESCO has been coordinating with the Ministry of Education and the UN agencies to fill the gaps and complement existing efforts to ensure that Syrian refugee children complete basic education, as well as secondary and tertiary education. The schools we launched today seek to provide Syrian refugee children with non-formal catch-up education programmes, while also providing them with psychosocial support”.

Calling education a human right, Joumblat said, " Education is an essential tool to protect and save generations who live in tough conditions and who have suffered from war. Hence our partnership with UNESCO to establish UNESCO's Middle Schools, which provide Syrian refugees with a safe space for learning, and offer them the chance to build a better future and have a decent life. Most importantly, these schools empower Syrian children and youth through equipping them with the knowledge and skills that would enable them to contribute and participate in the reconstruction of their home country”.

In his speech, Lazzarini stated that an estimated three percent of Syrian refugees aged between 15-18 complete secondary education.

"The rest are missing out on future opportunities – this is not acceptable. When children miss out on completing basic education, the impact is a lifetime,” he added.

"We cannot afford to let these children and youth miss out on education. Education is their right; it enables children and youth to live in dignity and prepares to contribute to rebuilding their country once they return”.

According to Al Rabeeah, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre has provided $137 million in education aid through 63 programs in several countries.

"I would like to extend a word of appreciation and gratitude to the government and people of Lebanon for hosting the displaced people from Syria, Palestine, Iraq and the rest of the world. And to the Syrian refugees, I would like to say: your pain is our pain, we know what you have been through and we know what you have suffered due to war, loss of family members, and displacement. The least we can do is to offer you this assistance to support you and stand by you. This project we launched with UNESCO is one among several programs of assistance we are pleased to offer you," Al Rabeeah stated.

Calling the education of refugee children 'burdensome', Chehayeb stated that the Lebanese government would not have been able to bear the cost without assistant from donors and international organisations.

"The financial assistance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is providing us through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre is highly valuable and appreciated; this assistance comes as no surprise as the Kingdom has always supported and stood by Lebanon in tough times.”

The event included two testimonials by parents and students of UNESCO’s Middle Schools.

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news