Iyad (14) Left Syria to Chase a Brighter Future

Every child has the fundamental right to an education. Yet claiming that right in the midst of displacement and the COVID-19 pandemic takes strength and determination. Through the Back to the Future project War Child and partners are supporting Syrian refugee children like Iyad to claim their right to learn - no matter what obstacles they face. Iyad shares his story here.

“We barely get any internet connection in these parts - so I am always running around when I have some free time on my hands to try and catch a Wi-Fi signal from one of our neighbours…”

Some 2.5 million Syrian children have been forced to find refuge outside the country's borders. These children live with their families in camps and settlements - where electricity and learning materials aren’t always readily available. And access to education is shrinking further still as learning spaces close in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iyad chases his goals

Iyad is 14 years old - and he left Syria in 2013 together with his parents to find refuge in the Adwe camp in North Lebanon. Iyad is now enrolled in basic literacy and numeracy (BLN) activities as part of the Back to the Future project - and is one the hardest working students in his group.

Iyad maintains a fierce determination to learn - despite the many obstacles in his path. His father sadly passed away soon after the family arrived in Lebanon. The camp he calls home has no online network. Electricity cuts are a daily fact of life. Iyad has also been diagnosed with delayed growth - yet none of this has stopped him from pursuing his goals.

Iyad’s determination to continue to learn has been an inspiration to both his fellow students and his teachers.

“He’s unstoppable,” says Iyad’s learning facilitator Ghada. “We call him the Wi-Fi catcher!”

No time to rest

Iyad’s time is divided between supporting his family by working in the olive tree fields and pursuing his studies. He barely has any time to rest. The Back to the Future learning facilitators accommodate the many demands on his time - and are available on WhatsApp to respond to his questions late in the night and in the early hours of the morning.

Towards a brighter future

“I dream of becoming a professional photographer,” Iyad says. “I want to take photos of the things and the people I love and save them forever.” And the boy known as the ‘Wi-Fi catcher’ will stop at nothing to achieve his dream.

Back to the Future is funded by the European Union in Lebanon, through the EU Madad Fund. The project is implemented in partnership by AVSI Middle East , Terre des hommes Italy in Lebanon and War Child in Lebanon.