Approximately 2.8 million Syrian children are out of school as a result of the war, 550,000 of whom are in Lebanon. The Jesuit Refugee Service centre in Jbeil serves nearly 500 Syrian refugee children, including providing psychosocial support to children through Peace Education classes.
The report of the activities of the centre released by JRS, shows that all of the children at the centre have been badly affected by the war. Mortars and bombs were a daily risk. Some children have experienced violence at home, and most currently live in unsuitable or desperately overcrowded housing.
For most of the children, the traumatic experience has had negative consequences on their behaviour. Many find it difficult to stay in class. Majed Mardini, a Syrian teacher at the JRS Jbeil centre, said these pupils "need more than a traditional education.
All of the teachers play a double role as social worker, she said. "Many of the children do not know how to be in school. We teach children how to behave, how to interact with others, but most importantly, how to love one another." Only this kind of daily work and patience eventually bring results, with improvement in behaviour and learning ability of children.
Many of the youngsters do recognise school as the only place where they can be happy, and do not want to stop going to school during the holiday, which for many is a time of sadness and neglect.
Whether their families eventually return to Syria or not, "education is the only way to build a future for these children" Mardini said.
We Need Your Support
ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.
Please support our journalism by donating today.Donate