Teacher Abir in front of her classroom in Lebanon. (Photo credit: Chris Trinh)
In the Middle East, Lebanon hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including 660,000 school-aged children. Having fled a long and brutal civil war in their homeland, Syrian refugees are seeking safety and stability for their families. However, life in Lebanon has been far from easy. The country has faced a series of crises, spanning from the economy to politics and beyond. These challenges have not only impacted the daily lives of the Syrian refugee children whom the Luminos Fund serves in Lebanon, but also their teachers.
Luminos teachers are the driving force in our classrooms, playing a vital role in helping Luminos reach over 7,000 Syrian refugee children and equip them with essential reading, writing, math, and socio-emotional skills. Every day, these teachers demonstrate unparalleled resilience and determination as they unlock the light of learning in their students.
In classrooms that are brimming with joy and excitement, teachers work passionately to ensure that children acquire the fundamental building blocks of learning. They provide students with the necessary tools to continue on the path to lifelong learning by instilling basic academic skills and the core foundations of positive psychosocial well-being.
Syrian refugee students in Lebanon complete a group assignment.
Teachers like Taghreed intentionally create an atmosphere of care, knowing every student by name, checking up on their well-being, and fostering a safe, supportive environment where kids can be kids.
“They want to learn!” says Taghreed. “They are very dedicated.”
Taghreed goes above and beyond, making herself available to her students at all times of day through WhatsApp, answering homework questions, explaining assignments, and more.
Luminos teachers recognize that they are not only preparing students to succeed in future learning, but also to make positive contributions to society—and that starts with the learning environment cultivated in the classroom.
As you walk into a Luminos classroom in Lebanon, colorful posters cover the walls, displaying the letters of the alphabet, the names of feelings, as well as heaps of student artwork. Seated in pairs at their desks, students actively participate in vibrant lessons on various topics, including their right to education. The children eagerly raise their hands to demonstrate their understanding, while teachers are equally enthusiastic about helping students internalize the lessons.
Inside a colorfully decordated Luminos classroom in Lebanon.
The teachers’ work would not be possible without the unwavering support of community-based partners who provide teachers with professional development opportunities on a regular basis.
When reflecting on Luminos teachers in Lebanon, Luminos Associate Director of Programs and Lebanon country lead, Liz Robinson, notes, “They’re just so dedicated. They genuinely want the best for their kids. There is a heartfelt sense that the teachers are so happy to be supporting the students’ learning. Teachers are most proud when their students are proud of themselves and value their own achievements, not just when students progress and grow academically.”
During a recent discussion with teachers and our community-based partners, there were numerous stories of the remarkable progress teachers have seen in their students throughout the program, including children gaining self-confidence, developing a newfound interest in learning and school, and even supporting their own parents to learn to read.
As one teacher said, this job “feeds our soul.”
One way teachers in Lebanon actively build students’ sense of self-belief is by providing daily opportunities for students to succeed in small ways every day. For example, one teacher uses WhatsApp to share and celebrate those who have done well on homework assignments. Students looks forward to receiving these messages so much, they often reach out to remind their teacher to send it.
A teacher in Lebanon leads a hopscotch-like math activity outside, allowing students to practice their counting skills and get active.
Every day, our teachers in Lebanon shine a light into the lives of the refugee students they serve. Today, on World Refugee Day, we honor their dedication and passion for improving the lives of refugee children.
Learn more about our Lebanon program here.