Noor, 30, fled the war in Syria with her handicapped husband and two children, a girl, 4, and a boy, 3. She is a teacher by training and has set up a school in a Syrian refugee settlement by the Mediterranean Sea, offering free classes to children.
When Noor came to Lebanon, and joined dozens of families in this settlement, she received a very warm welcome. "People knew that I was a teacher back in Syria and they had hopes that I would start a school. I started with very basic resources. We even used to go to the dumpsite and gather cardboard to write on instead of notebooks because parents are poor. At first I had 15 students, but when parents heard that the school was for free, everyone was encouraged to educate their children."
"Even though I'm a mother and a wife and have to cook, clean and handle many tiring tasks, I’m very optimistic when it comes to those children," she says sitting on the floor of her small tent that turns into a classroom every afternoon. A white board stands in the corner, opposite the kitchen corner where old pots wait for her to cook the day’s main meal.
66% of the Syrian refugee children in Lebanon do not go to school, a reality that worries Noor. She says: “Even if you cannot help them financially, you can help them morally”. She adds: “What encouraged me most was the children’s love for school. When I see how happy they are at school I forget all of my tiredness”. Noor believes it is her duty to educate her country’s children asserting that “Syrians should help Syrians”.
"Not everything is about money. These are the children of our country. They need you, even if you can’t help them financially, you can help them morally. You can cultivate them, educate them and make them feel as if they’re in their country."
Approximately 12.2 million people are in need in Syria. Oxfam has reached over 1.5 million people affected by the Syria crisis, across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Women and children have been particularly affected by the violence.
Syria Refugee Crisis: oxfam.ca/syria