With your support, MECA is able to continue financial support for this vital school for 267 children who are refugees from Syria living in Lebanon.
The students take Arabic, English, Math and Computer courses. And the teachers report that the students are progressing well!
The success of this project is evident from the response of the local community and families. One teacher writes their "Some parents have come to the center to offer their thanks to teachers as a result of visible results on their children at all levels of education and learning."
But that's not all, the children are also getting the chance to take art classes, storytelling workshops, and go on field trips.
MECA will be funding a summer camp for the children and a second year of classes to start in September 2016.
With your support, we are funding a full year of classes in English, Arabic, math, and computers for 267 children in Lebanon. These children are Syrian refugees who can't attend the local schools because they have fallen behind, they don't have the correct paperwork, their families can't afford the uniforms and registration fees, or there is simply no room for them in the classrooms.
Our partner, the Children of Jalil Center, is running an informal school. 87 of the children are illiterate and are getting intensive courses in reading and writing. All of the children also take part in weekend psychosocial activities like sports, dance, and music.
After the first month of classes, one of the teachers commented "I am very happy because I sensed improvement, and this makes me very optimistic, after it became the boys distinguish some Arabic and English letters as well as numbers and operations of addition and subtraction."
With our support, Children of Al-Jalil Center (CJC) just completed distribution of food and hygiene coupons to 600 refugee families living in camps near the border with Syria. We spoke to one of the mothers to learn more about her and her story. Please take a few minutes to read on.
My husband and I are Palestinian refugees. Both of us were born and grew up in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria. My husband is from a village called Lubia and my family is from Nazrareth. I am 34 and my husband is 36 years old.
I used to live Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria with my husband and my three children. My daughters are Ranya (ten years old), and Danya (four years old); and my son A’ahd is seven years old.
We used to live in a small apartment and lived a normal life. We had a routine and the kids went to school. We could afford medical care at a clinic, and we had basic needs covered. Since the Civil War began, our lives have changed utterly.
We tried to survive the War but the siege on Yarmouk Refugee Camp was catastrophic, especially for the children. We decided to leave the Camp and move across the border to Lebanon in order to protect the children.
My husband could not leave and he is still stuck in the refugee camp i[n Syria]. We haven’t seen him for over a year. He’s tried many times to come to us, but the Lebanese won’t allow him to cross the border despite the fact that he’s very sick and has problems with his back. He is disabled and can’t work.
I myself have a problem with my leg. It’s been affected a lot since we came here and I can’t get medication from the UN clinic. Both of my daughters are sick and they can get basic medications, but not enough to remedy the problem.
I’m living right now in a shelter in one room, nine square meters, with my three children. This shelter is located in a cemetery in Lebanon. There are many other families living in 15 other rooms in the cemetery shelter here. There is one kitchen and one bathroom for all these families. The bathrooms are for women only, not for men. Each time we need to use the bathroom, we need to wait in line and it’s very hard for my daughters.
My life is focused on two things: first, to take care of my children’s basic needs and second, to help them study and not lose the ability to learn.
My daily challenge is to reduce the impact of our reality. My children are frightened to leave our room because all around them is a cemetery full of graves, some of them open.
We used to get some support from the UN, but this support has started to diminish and this is scaring me because we have no other resources except what we receive from the UN and sometimes from other organization like the Children of Al Jalil Center.
It’s really frightening to not have enough food or medicine for a week. It’s hard when I can’t offer my children a toy or some small treat to make them happy. I feel guilty as a mom that I brought these children into the world and now I can’t take good care of them. I ask the world what they expect from my children. We wake up every morning, wait in line to use the bathroom and sometimes it takes a week for them to have a shower because there isn’t enough water for daily showers. Every day when they go to school, they need to cross the cemetery and when they come home they need to cross the cemetery. Sometimes, the only place for them to play is the cemetery.
I feel helpless because I can’t take care of my own medical needs and I can’t walk properly and who cares? I want to take care of my children. It’s my duty to help them survive. Being far from my husband is hard because he needs someone to take care of him too. I live with these burdens every day, every hour.
Sometimes I think what we Palestinian refugees experienced in 1948 continues from generation to generation. What makes me strong is how my mother struggled to keep me alive, and I know it’s my duty now to help my children to survive. We aren’t asking for much, just for my family to be reunited and my children to live with their father. I want enough food and water for my children and a small place for them to live and play and sometimes feel like children. I want medicine for us all so we can be healthy.
I want the Civil War to stop because I’m not the only one in this situation—there are millions of people like me living like this from day to day.
With your support, MECA has just made a grant to provide vouchers to 600 refugee families in Lebanon close to the border with Syria. Families were selected for this project by our partner, Children of Al-Jalil Center, who keep a database of refugee families in the Bekaa Valley including the number of family members, exact location, and financial status. They coordinate with other aid agencies to avoid duplication.
Families will receive vouchers to "shop" at local markets and choose the food and hygiene products that meet their needs. This both supports the local shop owners and allows families to make decisions about their own immediate needs.
We will be sharing photos and information about some of the beneficiaries later this summer.
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