UPDATE, November 2014
Since the early days of the Syrian crisis, AMURT Lebanon has been supporting refugees in the mountainous upper Chouf district with their basic needs; providing fuel, blankets and warm clothing to protect against the cold winters. AMURT’s current focus is on the wellbeing of the refugee children.
Up to half the refugee children have no access to education and many have not seen a school classroom for two years. Even refugee children in school face difficulties: one in three are unable to function properly due to traumatizing experiences of war. Wherever possible, AMURT works with parents and school directors to place Syrian children directly into local government schools, while also providing group or individual psychosocial therapy.
If school placements are unavailable, or if a child requires special preparation and psycho-social assistance before entering regular school life, then AMURT’s Child Friendly Space model is the best option.
Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) are safe, nurturing and stimulating environments, which provide young refugees the chance to rediscover their innate innocence and positivity. Children usually spend their first three months in the CFS free from educational targets, benefiting from a structured routine full of stimulating activities. After this initial period, the children start a basic numeracy and literacy program. Once a child is ready to join the public school system, the next step is either to join the Back to School program, or a longer intensive learning course, such as the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), to quickly reach a suitable school entry level.
Syriakrisen, januar 2014
Libanon er et land på størrelse med Rogaland fylke som tidligere hadde 4 millioner innbyggere. Her bor nå også 1 million flyktninger fra krigsherjede Syria, spesielt i fjellområdene. AMURT er viktigste organisasjon i Chauf – området midt i landet og samarbeider med landsbystyrer, lokale og internasjonale hjelpeorganisasjoner. I tillegg til internasjonale hjelpearbeidere har AMURT en gruppe lokale ansatte og frivillige, både libanesere og syriske flyktninger som alle har et sterkt ønske om å hjelpe sine lidende medmennesker. I følge FN er dette den verste flyktningekrisen på 20 år. Mye må fremdeles gjøres og AMURT er i en unik situasjon for å hjelpe.
1 Year Snapshot:
- School support for 550 kids
- 3,000 refugees kept warm
- 15,000 refugees given food
- Facilitated 1,000 families’ refugee status
Over a million Syrians fleeing the war have poured into Lebanon so far: more than to any other country. This generous nation of only four million people has limited capacity to deal with a refugee influx of this scale. Yet, as fighting intensifies, the number of innocent civilians affected continues to grow.
AMURT Lebanon extends emergency relief to Syrian refugees and helps them to get their children back to school. Food, blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits are supplied from AMURT’s warehouse. The team also works to ensure families can weather the harsh mountain winter by providing and installing new heating stoves for the most needy and distributing fuel they can burn. Only 15% of refugee children in Lebanon are in school. So AMURT supports local schools to increase their capacity, then provides fees, bus transport and clothing to give the most vulnerable families access to education for their children.
Innocent children are suffering most as a result of the Syrian war that began more than two years ago. Many have gone without education for a long period since the outbreak of fighting and the vast majority of refugees streaming into Lebanon remain outside the school system. AMURT pays school fees and arranges transport for refugees spread throughout the mountains in a scheme sponsored by Kinder Not Hilfe (Germany). It is a vital help to get these youngsters back into school, where they can experience social inclusion, stimulation and a stable routine to help soothe the horrors of war and dislocation. AMURT also engages psycho-social specialists to assist their healing process and conducts teacher training to provide children a broader support network.
Education: Hope for the Future Last year, this Syrian girl’s parents had to choose which of their children to educate, as they couldn’t afford the expenses for all of them. Teachers recognised she was unusually gifted, and requested she stay in school, helping as they could. She adapted quickly to the Lebanese curriculum, which employs less Arabic, and proceeded to excel in all her subjects. This year, due to AMURT’s intervention, she is fully registered in school along with all of her siblings. AMURT also provided text books and their very first school uniforms.
Help for Struggling Schools Many Lebanese schools were already struggling before the enormous wave of refugees. Now refugees fill 30% of the classes in some schools, which is becoming a considerable burden on resources. Upgrading essential equipment is one way AMURT helps schools cater for newly arrived Syrians.
The Joy of Belonging: Wearing a School Uniform Children affected by the trauma of war and being uprooted from their former life require quick re-establishment of an educational routine and psycho-social support to regain a normal development path.
To help vulnerable refugee families though the bitterly cold mountain winter, AMURT is distributing heating stoves and fuel on behalf of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Harsh Conditions This family is smaller than most, but endures harsh conditions all too common. Referred to AMURT by the local municipality, they live in a 10m2 section of a concrete shed used for farm machinery. There is no window glass, just holes, and no running water. They collect water from a spring 200m away; bathing and toilet are outdoors. The mother, when already 9 months pregnant with her second child, slipped and fell in the icy cold: the baby did not survive. The father works long hours for the farmer, earning under $5 a day.
Winter Stoves Weather forecasters predict an especially cold winter this year for Lebanon’s mountains, where snowfall of 2 meters occurs in some areas. Fuel-burning stoves are essential items, particularly for the many families living in poor housing or caring for a relative with a medical condition.
Motherless Children Two girls now in their grandmother’s care, who explains how their mother died in a bombing just one hour after giving birth to the younger child. She points to the eldest. “She kept asking for her mother for one month; but after that she came close to me.” Their father remains in hospital in Syria.
Food Distribution Refugees just arriving from Syria often lack even the most basic essentials. AMURT provides all who reach Chouf District with certain emergency assistance they may require: ranging from food to blankets, mattresses, and special kits for hygiene or baby needs. [/one_half_last] AMURT is the main international NGO based in upper Chouf and works with village coordinators, municipalities and local and international NGOs. In addition to international support personnel, AMURT Lebanon has a ready pool of dedicated local staff and volunteers: team members include Lebanese and displaced Syrians, who have a strong desire to ease the suffering of their country-folk. According to the UN, this is the worst refugee crisis for 20 years. More can and must be done. AMURT is uniquely positioned to make a difference. Your help will make that possible.
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