Working together to support Syrian refugee children access an education in Lebanon

Aug 31, 2017

Palestinian Womens Humanitarian Organisation PWHO LebanonAPHEDA’s historic links to Palestinian Refugees

Union Aid Abroad’s story begins in a crowded and chaotic refugee camp in south Beirut, Lebanon. At that time (the early 80s) Palestinian refugees had been living in a state of limbo for more than three decades waiting to return home. It was here that Union Aid Abroad started to form and the central ideas of solidarity and justice for everyone everywhere took root.

Since then Union Aid Abroad has supported the development of education, women’s empowerment and disability support programs in three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

The Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO)

In 1993 APHEDA helped form a feminist humanitarian movement, the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO). Today this movement supports Palestinian and Syrian refugee women living in Lebanon to find sustainable work while supporting the needs of the camp communities from a woman’s perspective. One clear example of this is the PWHO early education centre in the Bourj al Bourajneh refugee camp. Prior to PWHO, there were no safe early education centres where women could leave their children while they found work or completed vocational training. The centre removed this barrier for working women and gives kids a head start on their education. But it is more than just an education centre, it is a focal point in the camp where women run seminars teaching other women about domestic violence safety, child protection, women’s rights, and where vocational skills training occurs. This year 523 people, including 214 women and 153 girls (48 with a disability) have benefitted from the work PWHO and Union Aid Abroad are doing together.

Supporting Syrian refugee children access an education

In 2017 APHEDA and PWHO developed an accelerated learning summer holiday program for Syrian refugee children who had missed 3 years of schooling because of their refugee status. Due to a sudden change in Lebanese law, these children were now eligible to attend public schools but were 3 years behind and needed intensive learning to get them to a point where they could keep up with the other kids and not dropout convinced they were not as smart as their peers. This program ran intensively over the Lebanese summer holiday period and as the Lebanese school year started this month more than fifty children are entering school with the confidence to catch up, keep up and stay in school! PWHO and Union Aid Abroad will continue to work with these children to give them the best chance to a proper education.

As the new school year starts in the camp Union Aid Abroad and PWHO will continue to work with refugees, building their capacity as a social movement until they can safely return home.


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