With the emergence of the Lebanese border and its border control and taxes, Tripoli’s economy started to decline as it became more isolated economically from Syria. More than 70 years after Lebanon's independence of 1943, Tripoli is now considered to be one of the poorest towns of the Mediterranean coast, and in some districts, the literacy rate can be very low compared to the national one (93.1%).
Since the onset of the Syrian civil war, thousands of families have been displaced to North Lebanon seeking a secure place to live. Today, around 210 000 people are located in Tripoli according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Most of the families have been facing many challenges in registering their children into the Lebanese schools .
Indeed, the harsh economic situation faced by Syrians in Tripoli encourages child labor, as every Lebanese Lira earned is vital and many of these children are helping their families to survive. After realizing that less than 30% of Syrian children were enrolled in schools, the Lebanese government along with the World Bank and the UN launched an important program in 2014 called "Back to School".
In order to absorb such a large population of children into the national school system, Lebanon came up with a double shift solution in public schools with mainly Lebanese children attending school in the mornings and Syrians in the afternoons.
Today, Syrian children are facing major issues in language capabilities as the curriculum in Syria was essentially in Arabic.
In Lebanon, however, starting from Grade one, all Sciences are officially taught in French or English.
As a result of this language barrier many children from Syria:
· Are demotivated in attending public schools and have no resources to afford to catch up with private classes
· End up dropping out of school
· Are made fun of / bullied
· Have no relatives or parents able to help them with homework
In line with Sham Development's principles of developing social enterprises, the Levantine Institute in Tripoli offers volunteering opportunities for skilled students to teach Lebanese and Syrian children in need of linguistic after school support in French or English and providing 1 on 1 tutorial sessions.
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