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Non-formal Education Programs bring Syrian Refugee Children back to Learning

Non-formal Education Programs bring Syrian Refugee Children back to Learning
Al- Borghleieh, LEBANON - With a gentle prod of encouragement from his father, 6-year-old Ahmad nervously steps forward and recites the numbers one to 10 in English. He says them quickly, and although his eyes are fixed on the ceiling and his hands are knotted together, his voice does not waver; he knows them perfectly.
"My favourite subject is English," he says when he is finished. "I love being here because it offers an education." He pauses, before adding shyly: "When I'm older I want to be a doctor."
With a smile on his face, his father, 28-year-old Abed, places a reassuring hand on his son's shoulder, a wordless expression of pride. "I'm so happy I had the chance to register him here," Abed says, his eyes shining. "In Syria he went to school for just 15 days before we had to flee." "Now look at him. Already he can say the numbers and days of the week in English. The teachers are doing a great job and the benefit from this programme is so clear; I really hope it continues." Abed is among many parents who wish for the kind of stability and hope brought by programs like these.

Borghleieh is one of five locations in the southern Lebanon where UNICEF and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) are implementing non-formal education projects funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) vital for almost 800 out-of-school Syrian refugee children not enrolled in the public school system due to challenges such as language barriers or stalled academic progress resulting from their geographic displacement. Parents at Borghleieh and the other locations all say the same thing: We want our children to keep learning so they have a chance at a positive future.

The Government of the United Kingdom has been one of UNICEF’s largest donors in Lebanon since 2012, donating nearly USD 23.3M to respond to impact of the Syria crisis in Lebanon.

With the aim of bringing education to the estimated 400,000 out-of-school Syrian children in Lebanon, UNICEF’s non-formal education project helps refugee children. The non-formal education project offers classes which boost their literacy, mathematics and language skills so that they may eventually integrate into the public school system.

Stories of children unable to fulfill their basic right to education are common in the camp, hence this kind of program remains an ideal solution.