Hands Up Foundation is now Action Syria

Hands Up Foundation celebrates International Day of Education

Education is a human right, and the foundation for re-building strong and resilient communities. 

But around 58% of Syrian refugee children remain out of school. 

This International Day of Education, we are celebrating the work of our partner, SAWA, who provides education to young Syrians who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn. We are also thanking you, our supporters, for making this, and our other projects, possible.  

Many refugee families are faced with a tough choice between receiving much needed extra income by sending their children to work or sending them to school. Struggling to support their families, parents often opt to put their children into work. This means that they miss out on vital education and lack the skills required to enter formal education.  

At Hands Up, we work with our partner SAWA to fund an education centre for 280 refugee children. Here they can learn the literacy and numeracy skills needed to re-enter formal education and prevent them from falling further behind. Not only that, but education helps to protect them from abuse and exploitation. 

One of the students is 14-year-old Omar who was at SAWA’s, education centre for five years, before going on to pursue education at an official school in Lebanon. 

Syrian refugee and school pupil Omar stands in front of class whiteboard.
14-year-old Omar at his new school in Lebanon.

Omar’s path through education has not always been an easy one. His family were forced to flee Damascus and seek refuge in Lebanon. When the economic crisis hit Lebanon in 2019 and the lira lost 90% of its value, Omar had to find a job to help his family put food on the table.  

Omar insisted on still prioritising his education, and his father registered his son with SAWA to continue his education. Omar claims “SAWA established me. After English lessons, I go back home, and use google translate to review the lessons we took and repeat the new words to memorise them.” This passion for learning, he says, is primarily driven by his teachers; he recalled how his teacher, Mohammad Abbas, “made me like the subject a lot. Now, in my new school, I am better than other students in Arabic and maths.” 

Omar hopes he can return to Syria one day and work to make his country a better place. “I want my people to live in peace and feel the stability again. But to do this, I want to focus on my studies to empower myself in work later on and establish my future… without school I can’t make it.” 

At Hands Up, we believe in giving a hand up, not a handout, and providing children, like Omar, with the services and education they need to provide stability and dignity to their communities and country, empowering them to make their own difference. 

This project is made possible by your donations. 

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