Rimas: Learning to Build a Brighter Future

Some 500,000 Syrian refugee children have moved to Lebanon in search of safety – two-thirds of whom are currently out of school. War Child is working with other global NGOs to address this issue through the ‘Back to the Future’ project. The project ensures children – like 10-year-old Rimas – can access quality education and eventually re-enter the formal education system

The ‘Back to the Future’ project sees AVSI, Terre des Hommes Italy, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and War Child Holland – with the support of the European Union EU Madad Fund – address the needs of children denied access to formal education.

Re-enter formal education system

‘Back to the Future’ will support some 19,000 children – from both refugee and host communities inside Lebanon and Jordan – over the next three years. The project provides children with non-formal education along with homework support and remedial classes. These activities are designed to eventually allow participating children to re-enter the formal education system.

10-year-old Rimas is one of the first children to take part in the project. Rimas now lives in Tripoli and attends regular BLN (Basic Literacy and Numeracy) sessions. Rimas has never even seen the Arabic alphabet before taking part in the sessions – but now she’s making significant progress.

New letter

“Every time we come we learn a new letter – and today we are at ‘N’”, Rimas says. Big hand-coloured letters are stuck to the walls of the classroom. Rimas explains that at the end of each session all the children make the letters together with the teachers in order to review what they have learned before progressing further through the alphabet.

Each session also provides the participating children with a much-needed sense of routine – and something to look forward to. “We have class rules and we all follow them,” Rimas explains. “Listen to your teacher and listen to your peers. Raise your hand before speaking. Ask permission to go to the toilet. Be polite, come on time…”  Rimas confirms that she is learning at a rapid pace – and enjoying it.

Basic Numeracy and Literacy (BLN)

Children between the ages of 10 to 14 who have missed two or more years of school or who have never even been to school – participate in Basic Numeracy and Literacy (BLN) classes. These classes help prepare them for the ALP exams and re-enter the formal education system.