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What do refugee children really need? Safety – of course; a home – at least. But what gives them really hope back, after all they experienced and suffered with their families? It can be living the life of a “normal” kid, that goes to school and gets an education he or she deserves! In 2018, MAPs – the Multi Aid Programs, was honored with the iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE. Currently, there are 9 of their so called “Hope Schools” in informal tented settlements in Bekaa, Lebanon. With these schools, MAPs seek to increase the access to high quality educational opportunities for Syrian refugee children.
Time to catch up with the organization on what happened since winning the award for a little success story! “The prize money went directly to our schools and supported our students' education, including their school supplies, transportation and their teachers' salaries. Finding donors for our Hope Schools remains a critical challenge. In fact, we are currently experiencing a large budget gap, with 3 schools completely unfunded”, says Natalie Garland of MAPs.
However, in the past year, the organization implemented classes in Math, Science, English, Arabic and Life Skills, in addition to a dentistry health campaign and sports events. With great news: “We are excited to announce that despite the many different obstacles children face daily in the camps, 86% of our students passed their examinations”, says Garland. The students demonstrated incredible progress from the beginning to the end of the school year, with their focus, classroom behavior, and knowledge levels greatly improving.
This success of the past year is set to help even more children and students. Garland: “In October 2019 MAPs began the new school year at the Hope Schools. We are implementing the Lebanese curriculum, in addition to the Helping Hands psychosocial support program, sports and health awareness campaigns.”
A great community of people can help too: For the newest initiative The Crochet Community Collective, women will support other women to earn money for each item they crochet, while the remaining profits will go directly to supporting one of nine Hope Schools. This new fundraising approach aims to foster female financial empowerment, dignity, community engagement and refugee self-reliance.