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Back to the Future

A major education initiative for children affected by the crisis in Syria

Some 2.3 million Syrian children have been forced to flee their homes following seven years of civil war. Many of these children now live as refugees in Lebanon and Jordan - waiting for peace to return to their homeland. Refugee camps are the places they now call home. The threat of exploitation - such as child trafficking or child labour - is real.

These children are typically also denied their fundamental right to an education. War Child has joined a consortium with other leading NGOs to address this issue. The ‘Back to the Future’ project is designed to meet the educational needs of Syrian refugee children and help them build a better future - both for themselves and their communities. Nearly half a million Syrian refugee children in Lebanon - and a further 240,000 in Jordan - are aged between three and 18. Nearly two-thirds - some 60 per cent - of these children are out of school. An entire generation is growing up with little hope of seeing a better future.

Education is a vital tool to tackle these feelings of hopelessness - and support the healthy development of children affected by violence and armed conflict. Four child rights organisations have come together to ensure Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Jordan can access education and vital psychosocial support.

The ‘Back to the Future’ project sees AVSI, Terre des Hommes Italy, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and War Child Holland - with the support of the European Union EU Madad Fund – address the needs of these children.

‘Back to the Future’ will run from 2017 to 2019 and will enable more than 21,000 (21,722) Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese children to go back to school. The aim of the project is to alleviate the impact of the Syrian crisis on the most vulnerable refugee children and their families, as well as host communities in Lebanon and Jordan.

The first year of Back to the Future has seen the project consortium open 19 education centres across Lebanon. Some 4,308 children have enrolled in the learning opportunities - including basic literacy and numeracy, early childhood education and foreign language support. A further 2,937 children have accessed learning support programmes, by attending foreign language classes and receiving help with their homework. Some 45 per cent of the participants are girls.

In total 7,245 children across Lebanon and Jordan participated in the programme during 2017.

This is one of our most important projects - because going back to school means going ‘back to the future’.

Key activities

The key activities of ‘Back to the Future’ include:

- Basic education
- Early childhood development programmes 
- Basic literacy and numeracy modules - many participating children have learning disabilities because they have missed one or more years of schooling 
- Learning and homework support 
- Psychosocial support activities for children, adolescents and their caregivers 
- Repair and renovation of school facilities

The project will see 19 school facilities renovated (11 in Jordan and eight in Lebanon) to support learning activities. Another important element of the project is the provision of transport to the project locations – which will allow increasing numbers of children to take part.

In Lebanon the Consortium works through a comprehensive, flexible and responsive approach built around RACE II (Reaching All Children with Education Initiative) and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) to support formal and non-formal activities for preschool and school-aged boys and girls.

Programme partners

- AVSI - http://www.avsi.org/en/
- Terre des Hommes Italy http://terredeshommes.it/
- Terre des Hommes Netherlands http://www.terredeshommes.nl/en
- War Child Holland 
- Back to the Future is funded through the European Union Regional Madad Trust Fund of the European Union, and the Elma Relief Foundation.