Sitting at a desk surrounded by classmates, 11-year-old Batoul treasures her paper, pencils, and books — prized possessions at this Luminos classroom in Baalbek, situated in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley.
One of 13 million Syrians violently displaced from their home, Batoul has yearned for a sense of normalcy and an education like other children her age.
Civil war, crisis, and displacement have severely disrupted the lives and education of the Syrian refugee children Luminos serves in Lebanon.
“She feels that the school is her second home. She trusts her teacher.”
Nawal, Batoul’s mother
Our programs support children — both academically and emotionally — so they can catch up to grade level in safe, welcoming classrooms and prepare to advance into Lebanese government schools. Classrooms are full of joy, resilience, kindness, and warmth and provide a safe space for students to explore and cultivate their potential.
Batoul practices writing the singular and plural forms of words on the board in her classroom.
“I can calculate and compute numbers quickly now,” Batoul says, beaming with pride. “Math is my favorite subject.”
“She feels that the school is her second home. She trusts her teacher,” says Batoul’s mother, Nawal.
As the sole provider for six children, Nawal has made unimaginable choices and sacrifices to meet the family’s basic needs.
“I worry about my kids the most, mainly about educating them,” explains Nawal. “After we were forced to flee our home, we faced many obstacles.”
At that time, Batoul knew only a few letters and words, and numbers one through ten. But education was merely one of their concerns, as the family experienced homelessness.
“We were homeless during the winter season,” Nawal says. “People later on helped us by offering us the basic necessities such as food and blankets. We were offered shelter and a job.”
Luminos was among those who could help provide relief. As she passed by a classroom, Nawal noticed a gathering of parents and children. Nawal approached the group to learn more about why they were there and stayed to register her daughter to enroll in a Luminos classroom.
Batoul with her mother, Nawal.
Today, all Nawal’s children are in school, and Batoul’s teacher, Noha, is proud of the progress that she has made in the classroom.
“She became studious and diligent,” says Noha. “She has overcome all the obstacles.”
Such encouragement is fuel for Batoul’s future ambitions.
“The teacher always praises me and empowers me,” says Batoul. “I would like to continue to the university level and be a doctor.”
“I can calculate and compute numbers quickly now! Math is my favorite subject.”
Batoul, Luminos student in Lebanon
Students in Batoul’s class practice placing nouns into categories.
Photo credit for this story: Chris Trinh