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Back to stories from the field Dubai Cares Helps Syrian Refugee Maher Mohamad Al Moussa Realize a Brighter Future through Education

Dubai Cares Helps Syrian Refugee Maher Mohamad Al Moussa Realize a Brighter Future through Education

As the Syrian conflict continues, many families make the risk-laden journey to one of Syria’s neighboring countries. The UNHCR estimates that over five million families have fled Syria in search for peace and stability. Lebanon is one of the countries that continue to witness a massive influx of refugees. These refugees are scattered all over the country, with minimal facilities to provide them with basic services such as healthcare and education.

In an effort to restore hope within Syrian refugee communities in Lebanon, Dubai Cares is partnering with International Rescue Committee (IRC), to provide education opportunities for children in these communities to engage in the learning process and build their future. Students from Sheikh Fneish Integrated Teaching Systems (ITS) are a prime example of the commitment that Syrian refugees are showing towards the program. They are receiving Non-Formal Education (NFE) through the Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action (3EA) program, funded by Dubai Cares.

Before the program began, students and the community had a largely indifferent attitude toward education as it was not a priority for parents. Since the start of the program, this attitude has been changing, which is impressive considering that the program is currently in its second cycle of the remedial Non-Formal Education (NFE) program.

Changing the attitude of the students themselves along with the community is one of the primary goals of the program. Maher Mohamad Al Moussa, a 9-year-old student in the Non-Formal Education (NFE) program is a real life portrayal of how successful the program has been.

Maher came to Lebanon from Syria 4 years ago. Prior to the Non-Formal Education (NFE) classes, he had no opportunity to go to school in both Syria and Lebanon. Upon the initiation of the program, Maher was not using his full potential and was performing far below his academic level. His parents showed little interest in education, and his behavior in class was often disruptive.

After a year in Non-Formal Education (NFE) classes, Maher’s attitude toward learning and his behavior in the classroom has improved significantly. His academic levels have improved, and this year Maher finally enrolled formally in the education program in Lebanese Public Schools. He is now a grade-2 student in AL Rawda Public School. Meanwhile, in the Non-Formal Education (NFE) schools he has become a “Homework Support” student who helps other children, and his overall attitude is incredibly helpful to his teachers and other students. Maher says, “My dream is to help other Syrian children access education like I did.”

Maher’s remedial tutor, Tahani Abbas says that, “Maher is always respectful in the classroom, one of the best motivated students, and shows self-preparation and improvement in his lessons and all subjects involved in the remedial program.” Maher is very happy to be named one of the best students, and had his picture captured on Snapchat for being one of those who had improved the most. His father concludes by saying, “Maher and his brother Adnan are leaders of a new generation of Syrian refugees that can spread hope to children all over the world.”