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Syrian Refugees Straddling Language in Lebanon
Hello Friends and Family! The Syrian Civil War has led millions of refugees to move abroad (UNHCR, 2020). Lebanon currently hosts around 1.7 million Syrian refugees (Al-Jazeera, 2021). Syrian refugees in Lebanon are struggling to survive amid one of the worst socioeconomic crises (UNHCR, 2021). Syrian refugees also survived the Beirut Harbor explosion on August 4th of 2020 which is the third largest non-nuclear blast in the world. Thus, nine out of ten Syrian refugees are living in extreme poverty (UNHCR, 2021). As noted by the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2020, there are around 488,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon aged three to eighteen years old (UNHCR, 2020). Yet, only half of the 488,000 Syrian refugees are registered in the Lebanese public schools (UNHCR, 2020). Syrian refugee children face a number of challenges in public schools in Lebanon. One of the main challenges in the education system in Lebanon is the language of instruction used in classes. Even though Lebanon’s national language is Arabic, the language of instruction in almost all schools is either French or English (Shuayb et al., 2014). On the other hand, the school curriculum in Syria is taught in Arabic. This means that Syrian refugees are coming to a new country, to new schools having to learn in a foreign language. Language of instruction is the base of the student’s understanding in class. Hence, Syrian refugees being literate in English and French is very important to ensure that they are learning and benefiting from their education. After conducting a 9-month literature review in the University of California Los Angeles, titled Straddling Language in Public Schools: A Critical Literature Review on Refugees in Lebanon, findings have stated that with the current implementation of language learning, language acts as a barrier to career goals, completing school, and attending post-secondary institutions (Dodd et al, 2022). Students are facing most difficulties in the scientific and mathematical subjects because these subjects are taught purely in the foreign languages. Syrian students now have phobias of the foreign language and that this psychological effect is affecting their performance and participation in class. There are many cases of students dropping-out, getting married, or even working because of the difficulties they are facing when learning in Lebanon. This has been the case for eleven years now. Action should be taken now, as many refugees are losing years not benefitting in schools in Lebanon and dropping out to get married or work. We cannot lose a generation to the lack of proper education. Thus, after researching on the proper methods of teaching Syrian refugees in Lebanon, we are opening the Foreign Language Program for Syrian Refugees (FLP). Where = Burj el Barajneh Refugee Camp. Target = 1,000 students. Starting date = Summer 2022 Providing = 1. Hosting one-on-one tutoring sessions using the Arabic Language. 2. Hosting weekly English enrichment classes applying a curriculum based on what was learnt in this literature review. The donations raised will be for space rental, transportation, resources, printing, stationary, and expanding the program to be able to reach as many refugees as possible. We are asking for your help. Help us educate 1,000 kids in Lebanon. Help these kids benefit from their education. These kids are at no fault of their own to being in such a situation. We cannot lose a generation to the lack of proper education. Let us fight for the right to education.

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