There are over 1.3 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon: 480,000 of them are children and over 155,000 are living without access to education, a human right that is essential to the building of their futures. An important part of children’s learning relies on teaching, teaching methods, and school management, but each child’s family also plays an essential role in his or her education, and the mother often plays a particularly powerful role.
In Syrian families, women are in charge of home affairs and oversee their children’s education. However, even before the start of the war, the illiteracy rate for women in Syria had reached over 20%. Many women have never been formally educated at all or have only, at the very maximum, attended primary school. Mastery of English, the formal language of the Lebanese school system database, is also rare. Thus, many refugee mothers are unable to monitor the progress of their children at school, help them with their homework, or encourage them to read; and yet the mothers’ involvement is essential to the children’s educational process.
Destabilized, devastated by war and exile, sometimes isolated and living without basic resources, many Syrian refugee families are struggling on a daily basis simply to ensure their survival. Living under these conditions, and battling an uncertain future, few families are able to invest energy and resources in their children’s education.
The SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
In response to these challenges, Yalla! is launching the program “Teach me, Mommy!” in the city of Aley, centered on educating mothers as to how to help educate their children, while also helping them to learn about their rights as citizens and refugee women.
This six-month program teaches mothers according to their needs and their learning level in Arabic, English, and mathematics, so that they acquire the skills they need to help their children with their homework, to monitor their progress, and to encourage their education. The mothers also learn about their rights as women living at the heart of an armed conflict, through sessions led by volunteers trained by the Lebanese association Kafa: an organization that specializes in women’s rights and the fight against gender-based violence.
In addition to the core training courses, the “Teach me, Mommy!” program also provides theatrical workshops that allow participants to express themselves freely, discussing the difficulties of their daily lives as women living in a patriarchal society while also trying to cope with life as refugees. Through role-playing, the women regain their confidence and are able to address crucial women’s rights issues with playfulness as well as seriousness.
THE IMPACT OF GIVING
Your donation will give the mothers of Syrian refugee children the knowledge and skills they need to follow an elementary curriculum in Arabic, English, and mathematics. In addition, at the end of a six-month program, the participants know their rights as women and as refugees living in circumstances created by armed conflict, so that they can go forward equipped with an understanding of the mechanisms of citizen participation that are available to them.
Beyond the direct, great impact of educating the refugee children, the project “Teach me, Mommy!” positively transforms the lives of refugee women: weekly courses help them to create bonds of solidarity and break the isolation from which some families are suffering. Above all, gaining particular skills opens up new opportunities of employment for the mothers, who face strong competition in the local labor market.