Education is a human right.

An interview with refugee boys in the camps in Bekaa, Lebanon

By Colleen Jennings (*) -  03. 

LEBANON -  280,000 Refugee children still out of school

95% Of 15-17 year olds are not in school

JORDAN - 77,500  Refugee children without access to education
40,000 Refugee children can't or won'treturn to school with thousands more at risk of dropping out.

Although Jordan and Lebanon do their best to offer education to refugee children from Syria and Iraq, there are not enough resources to meet the education needs of roughly 350,000 children and youth many of whom will never receive an education.

While the government school system receives aid from UNHCR and foreign states, and small NGOs contribute to education needs, too many children and youth still have no access, and those that are in public schools are struggling. Many children have to work in order to help their families earn enough to survive.

Researching the potential for alternative education methods using internet communication and tablet technology for refugee students and other solutions to the approximately 250,000 students without access to schools.

Most education efforts are directed toward primary age students with little attention being given to providing resources for older students.

The frustration and despair that is evident among secondary and higher education students emerges from the reality of a life lost to war and disinterest by nations of power. Individuals need to recognize the value of these students and step in to fill the gaps.

As seen in this video, many boys must work to help support their families and do not have access to education.

Support for families and those trying to serve them is essential to avoid losing a generation of children to unemployment and poverty. Instead, mobilizing individuals and groups throughout the West to connect on an individual basis can create momentum toward real solutions that address the extreme circumstances of youth who cannot complete secondary school, attend university, or obtain skilled jobs. The education system in Lebanon and contributing NGOs are not able to provide enough buildings and teachers to address this crisis.

Research into the home school movement in the U.S. demonstrates that students who use alternative education methods are just as prepared for a college education and perhaps more so than students who receive an institutionalized education. Secondary students need individualized attention in order to succeed in mastering academic and technological materials and courses.

Recommendations include that primary school children be removed from the schools and taught at home with community support so that education resources can be directed toward older students who have a greater need for instruction and training at the formal level.

Teaching primary school students is easy - it is not difficult to teach math and reading to children if one has those skills oneself.

Refugee boy in a tent city in Bekaa, Lebanon

However, my research into the students who cross socio-economic boundaries reveals that those confident in their ability to succeed need a motivator to get them into college or vocational training, either a parent, mentor or school program - this does not happen on its own for students, no matter how competent or intelligent they might be.


This research paves the way for my Hungry Scholar Project that seeks to build an application that connects refugee students in Jordan and Lebanon with education mentors in the West.

The Hungry Scholar Project is different from other humanitarian websites. We are not asking for donations of money. Instead, we are seeking education mentors who are willing to connect with refugee families and youth in Jordan and Lebanon to mentor their education for a year or more. ​Make your Hungry Scholar connection HERE

We are looking to build relationships so that the shadow of mystery no longer infuses the Middle East hiding the people just like us who live there - parents, children and young people who once led normal lives with aspirations of higher education and vocational school just as those in the West expect.

We want to restore hope in their future by coming alongside them like good neighbors do, even if that neighbor lives in a land far away. Thanks to the internet and air travel, our neighbors are much closer than they used to be.


(*) Auhor

Colleen Jennings

Colleen Jennings - ESL Teacher -

While the above way provides for a cut-the-crap solution, one can see below how the usual players, trying to maintain their influence as state or religious actors, are just discussing the multifacetted problems, but do NOT achieve the urgently required improvements.