Kristóf Hölvényi / JRS MENA


To guarantee safe pathways and to find alternatives to detention and unaccompanied journeys.

Ahmad Hajiko is a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. He is just 8 years old. Before the outbreak of war in Syria, Ahmad led a normal life: going to school and playing with his friends, being an ordinary little boy. But when the war broke out his family had to leave everything, and they fled to Lebanon.

Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Lebanon has been one of the most generous receiving countries for Syrian refugees in the region: one in every six persons living in Lebanon is a refugee.

“I remember the bombing in Aleppo, and how we escaped to Lebanon at night so that the bad people around us wouldn’t know and couldn’t kill us. I saw a house explode, and there were a lot of gunshots. So, we came here.”

“Here I go to school. When I’m older I want to go to class A (the older students’ class), and then I want to find work. I don’t want to go back to Syria because there, people shoot at us.”

Unlike in neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Turkey, there are no official refugee camps in Lebanon. Refugees here live dispersed in dozens of informal settlements, in the long-established Palestinian camps, or in local neighbourhoods. Refugees have great difficulty in getting residence permits in order to be able to work, and this has a serious impact on the lives of child refugees: it is very common for children to be forced into work to
contribute to the family budget. According to UNICEF, up to 180,000 Syrian minors work in the country, the majority with long working days and on very low wages.

Children also face great difficulty gaining access to education. 59% of school-age refugees in Lebanon are excluded from formal education because of factors such as early marriage; child labour; systematic bullying at school; learning difficulties caused by displacement and
post-conflict trauma; early learning deficits because of displacement; malnutrition; and health problems due to lack of hygiene. Since 2012, in partnership with Entreculturas, we have been implementing programmes to assist and promote the protection of refugees in Lebanon. Our educational programmes focus on pre-school and primary education, and educational support both in urban and rural areas.

Kristóf Hölvényi / JRS MENA

We work with the children and their families to enable the boys and girls to have access to quality education. Our goal is to support children in entering the Lebanese education system. We also work with the host and refugee communities to build peace and social cohesion.

We have three educational programmes:

Kindergarden: a pre-school programme to prepare very young children to move up to primary schools in the Lebanese education system. The programme provides foundational language and social skills training, so that the children can be integrated seamlessly into the existing school system.

Remedial (refuerzo escolar): a programme for children already registered in Lebanese state schools, but who are experiencing learning challenges because of the difference between the Syrian and Lebanese educational systems, language difficulties, or bullying.

Formal education: schools run by JRS where accredited primary education is being

Together with Entreculturas, we accompany more than 14,500 refugee children in Lebanon, Chad, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Education opportunities such as these enable refugee children to regain a semblance of normality, and to have a chance to lead successful lives.

Kristóf Hölvényi / JRS MENA