JRC_Syrian Education_Hajar

Education Provides Hope Amid Despair for Syrian Refugees

It has been a bleak decade for Syria’s children and young people. But education is providing a ray of hope.  We met four young Syrian refugees in Lebanon who told us their stories, fears, and hopes for the future. A decade into the Syria conflict, millions of children have been born in displacement inside Syria and across the wider region. Hundreds of thousands of young people have had their lives shattered and uprooted from the safety they grew up in. Lebanon alone hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, around half of whom are under the age of 18. As the situation in Lebanon worsens as a result of compounding crises, children are spending more time at home and are more likely to drop out of education. Schools have now been closed for over a year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The unprecedented economic crisis has driven many families into extreme poverty. For the most vulnerable families in Lebanon, it is very challenging to engage children in remote learning activities. Many households lack the necessary internet connection or equipment; others feel forced to send their children to work to make ends meet.  Complete Article HERE

Even Suicide Bombings Can’t Keep These Students From School

Two and a half years ago, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during an algebra class at the Mawoud Academy tutoring center. At least 40 students, most from Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic minority, died as they studied for college entrance exams. Najibullah Yousefi, a teacher who survived the August 2018 blast, moved with his students to a new location. He has a plan for the next suicide bomber. “I’m in front of the class and will get killed anyway,” Mr. Yousefi, 38, said. “So to protect my students, I will go and hug the attacker” to absorb the blast. Perhaps no other minority group faces a more harrowing future if the Taliban return to power as a result of negotiations with the Afghan government—especially if they don’t honor a pledge under a February 2020 agreement with the United States to cut ties with terror organizations such as the Islamic State. But even as the violence deters some students, many young Hazaras keep returning to classrooms. They have swept aside their fears and dread to pursue dreams of higher education in a country where attending class is an expression of faith amid a climate of terror. Complete Article HERE


Middle East Needs to Learn Lessons From the Holocaust

We are undergoing a historic change across the Middle East in the wake of the Abraham Accords, moving into an era of greater empathy and compassion as well as a stronger understanding of the concept of coexistence. But even in 2021, we still have many lessons to learn and the Holocaust is an essential pillar of that. It has historically either been downplayed or even denied across the Middle East and, with a rise in antisemitism around the world, now is the time to address this bitter truth. One lesson is for sure: We must never see the unnecessary and brutal, inhumane deaths of millions of innocent human beings again. But we continue to, across the region, from the Kurds to the Yazidis. Political ideologies still remain a barrier to coexistence, and humanity is crying out for change. It is not only a matter of learning from the tragedy of the Holocaust, but we have to look into history in a way that will take the lessons that add value to us and will create a better future for the new generation, promoting common values that will promote coexistence. This history of the Holocaust is still alive and, as such, it must take a firm place in our history books in the Arab world, too. For too long, our educational systems have omitted critical parts of history in the West, even denying the existence of whole peoples or states, and this can no longer go on…. Complete Article HERE