We spend many of our formative years in school, learning and developing skills that shape us into the individuals we are today.
Education is one of our main pillars at Sawa, we aim to develop programs for children and young adults who otherwise do not have access to schooling; 2021 marks the tenth year since the beginning of the crisis, where many displaced children have throughout this time received no or sporadic education.
Statistics reveal that %40 of Syrian school-age children in Lebanon are out of school.
Our educational programs build a foundation and help our students transition into formal education and other academic and technical education options.
Our holistic approach includes educational services combined with psychosocial support and life skills elements to provide them with tools to help them navigate through life.
Community Based-Early Childhood Education
ECE is one of the programs that support young children before they go to primary school by providing them with strong foundations for subsequent learning and development while helping them keep up and compete with their peers at the primary education level.
In our 2 ECE facilities that serve a total of 180 to 200 children, this program focuses on children of ages 6-5 and works to improve their cognitive,
emotional, and behavioral development. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 83 of our ECE students graduated in 2019, receiving formal certificates that make them eligible to enroll directly into the First Grade.
Retention Support Centers
Our retention support centers cater to children ages 6 to 13 where they participate in classes of quality education provided by teachers using modern teaching techniques. The classes covered at the centers include English, Arabic, Math, and Science, among other activities.
As part of our capacity-building policy, our teachers receive continuous training on several different topics relevant to their work, as well as actively participate in building the curriculum and improving the level of quality of education. SAWA supports 2 retention support centers through which we provide holistic support where we offer PSS, extracurricular activities, winter kits, educational supplies, transportation, and daily nutritious.
This program supports youth who have been out of learning between the ages of 11 and 16 through tailored intensive classes in Arabic, English, and Math.
It supports them academically, so they will be able to eventually enter the formal Lebanese education system, or in the competency and capabilities necessary for their professional life.
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This program, through its three components (Language and digital literacy, career guidance, PSS and Life Skills, in addition to research and advocacy), aims to develop the knowledge and skills of Syrian youth of ages 20-14, re-integrate them into formal education, bridge them to non-traditional types of work, as well as present a different model on what can be done for discriminated youth that has been ousted by the system for several years.
After completing the program, 80 students take the Microsoft online exam for their certification.
Basic Literacy and Numeracy
This program has been introduced this year to deliver a Basic Literacy and Numeracy curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to 85 students between the ages of 10 and 14. Our goal is to support them reach the benchmarks for proficiency in three competencies: Arabic, English, and Mathematics. Reading, writing, comprehension, and numeracy are then assessed through the ASER test.
The program helps to ensure that the foundations of education are covered in order to reduce long-term vulnerabilities while also providing vulnerable boys and girls with protection and humanitarian assistance. Therefore, the academic courses are supplemented with PSS sessions to navigate through the struggles and difficulties they are facing.
Adapting to safety and protection measures from the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but teachers this year found themselves facing a completely new set of challenges. Switching to online was new, unfamiliar, and required an entirely new set of skills. As anyone has experienced when faced with something new, it often brings about feelings of apprehension and insecurity. Rana, 30 years old, teaches Arabic at Sawa’s education center, and these are exactly the worries that she was experiencing at first.
In April, Sawa’s education team implemented a hybrid approach to remote learning consisting of videos lessons created by the teachers, sent to a device in the household, and handouts distributed weekly to the students’ homes. The unprecedented circumstances and this new approach highlight the challenges that teachers now faced.
“Online education is different from the traditional learning method. Children get bored quickly, they have a short attention span. It is difficult to keep them engaged with online video for a long time if I don’t put the effort into altering my tone and pitches. The students need to feel that they are in the class and that the teacher isn’t distant from them or else, they won’t be interested in the lessons anymore. In other words, we have to make it personal, relatable and real.”