through Syrian children's eyes.
Many refugees have outlived the trauma and the horror of war. Through their drawings they express their experiences and feelings. These drawings show what life was like before displacement, during the war in Syria, and after they fled to Lebanon and finally enrolled in the JRS education programmes.
Over 500.000 Syrian children in Lebanon are out of school as a result of the war.
Education provides safe spaces
for children to learn and heal.
a 9-year-old Iraqi girl who escaped ISIS and now goes to a JRS school in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
"We lived in Fallujah. ISIS started shooting and bombing and dropping barrels. The barrels had some sort of explosive dough. I was hiding in our house with my mom, under the stairs. My mother said, “Don’t go out, you’ll get hurt.” ISIS didn’t find us. Houses collapsed and people died in them. A lot of kids. The ceilings fell on them. Others were hurt by barrels. ISIS came into people’s houses and killed them. Some of my friends managed to escape. Some got killed. When we left we had to cross a river in a boat. There were a lot of people in the boat, and it wasn’t very stable. I don’t know how to swim. Some people tried to use a rope to cross and they fell in the water. When we came to Erbil I felt relieved. I’m really happy about the school. I came here and the teachers taught me everything: art, English... I like to learn and have fun.“
"Many children have been out of school for so long, they don't know how to be in school."
Education restores a sense of
normalcy and a sense of community
after losing so much.
a 9-year-old refugee girl from the Central African Republic goes to a school run by JRS
"Children have bad memories of the war. We heard how they killed people with knives, and launched grenades. I didn’t eat. The bombs fell and you had to run. We fled to the mosque. We slept on mats. When it rained the rain came in. Later, we stayed home and didn’t do anything. I want to become a teacher. I like math. We want peace because war is not good. School is our future. If we have no school, we have no future.“
In Syria, where mortars and bombings were a daily risk,
many children could not leave their houses.
These children have been traumatised
and need more than a
Nearly 60 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes. Many of the refugees live in camps, where they and their families have found shelter from violence and terror. In the camps and in makeshift accommodation, these displaced persons live a life in limbo. The average time spent by a refugee in a camp is 17 years. 17 years without education, leaves many of them without the opportunity to reach their potential and creates a "lost generation".
Refugees face a plethora of blockades trying to access education, from overcrowding in schools to xenophobia in communities. Their fundamental right to education is often lost. In Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey alone, 700,000 school-aged Syrian refugee children are out of school.
Schools provide the stability that children need to cope with the loss, fear, stress and violence experienced during times of crisis. Being in school can keep children safe and protected from risks, including recruitment into armed groups and child labor. With access to quality education, young people can better fulfill their own potential. We must guarantee that refugees across the globe do not lose their fundamental right to learn.
Pope Francis emphasises the importance of education for refugees as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. "All JRS programmes have this ultimate aim: to help refugees grow in self-confidence, to realise their highest inherent potential and be able to defend their rights as individuals and communities.“
At an audience with refugees and friends and staff of JRS, Pope Francis was given exercise books with drawings by refugee children from diverse backgrounds in Lebanon and Central Africa, showing their lives before and after entering into educational programmes in JRS centres. These books are part of our campaign and will be sold in 2016 to help support refugee education for children and youth. Pope Francis emphasised the importance of education for refugee children and youth as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. "To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give“, he said.