A LOOK BACK: THE GIFT OF LEARNING FOR SYRIAN REFUGEE CHILDREN
Two years on from the heart-warming moment a family of five Syrian refugee children received access to learning, SAT-7 continues to work to ensure the most vulnerable children can learn.
There was something very special about the visit three young boys paid to this family in Lebanon in late 2019. Mostafa and his two friends, who are all from Syria themselves and had taken part in the SAT-7 ACADEMY program Puzzle, came bearing gifts.
“They cannot go to school, so we took school to their home,” explains Mostafa. The boys gave the family a portable DVD player and a DVD with episodes of the primary education program My School, which would enable the children to learn Arabic, maths, science, English, and French in their own home.
While most refugees who follow My School can watch through satellite television, or now online through SAT-7 PLUS, the very neediest children, such as those in this family, sometimes have access to neither. The smiles on the children’s faces as they received their special gift, which made learning access possible for them, too, show just how much it meant to them.
Two years on, this moment is a poignant memory as COVID-19 and Lebanon’s devastating economic and political crisis have moved access to formal education even further out of reach of Syrian refugees. Many who were enrolled in school in Lebanon were attending second-shift schools before the pandemic, which as of December 2021 had not reopened even while regular class had restarted. Some Syrian refugees have even been forced to leave Lebanon, their lives uprooted again in search of a liveable quality of life.
This has made My School all the more vital to those who access it through satellite and online. And in October 2021, SAT-7 began putting those smiles on the most vulnerable children’s faces once again, with a new partnership with local organisation Heart for Lebanon that is enabling more than 100 children living in refugee camps to learn through My School at two special centres.
Recently, seven-year old student “Manal” learned the letters of her name for the first time. Joanna Abou Rjeily, Educational Program Coordinator with Heart for Lebanon, said, “Manal’s joy was indescribable, it was exactly the pure joy of a kid when opening up a gift. Education is a gift of hope to many kids who are being able to reach this opportunity. Manal could have spent her life unable to spell her name.”
This remains a very difficult time for the most vulnerable refugees in Lebanon, especially as they must now also cope with bitter winter temperatures. Please pray for them and for SAT-7 and Heart for Lebanon’s work to continue bringing the joy of education to those who need it most.