“I was told that grade 9 is very difficult, and it’s not easy to pass it especially since I attend the second shift schools in the afternoon for Syrian refugees. But, I wasn’t afraid at all when I sat for the official exams. The questions were easy,” says Yasmine.
Yasmine and her family fled Syria because of water, gasoline, and heating fuel shortage five years ago. “It was challenging to work in my electronic shop without electricity. I couldn’t pay the rent for two months as I barely received customers. We used old clothes to light fire during the cold days. We traveled to other villages to get bread,” says Fadi*, Yasmine’s father.” Today, they live in south Lebanon.
Challenges to access education
Like many young refugees in Lebanon, Yasmine experienced a lot of difficulties integrating in the Lebanese formal education.
“In Syria, we had one English class per week, so my language skills weren’t advanced,” says Yasmine. In Lebanon, subjects are taught in English and/or French but in Syria it’s in Arabic, which is the only language refugees speak. I thought of quitting school, but my father was strict about education,” Yasmine continues.
Yasmine’s father insisted that she and her sisters repeated their grades to catch up with the Lebanese curriculums. “Despite all the barriers and harsh living conditions, I motivate my children to continue their education and keep learning,” says Fadi. “The majority of Syrian children I meet are working, married early or busy with domestic chores. I don’t want this for my children.”