Laila (12) Can’t Go to School - But Still Works towards a Better Future

Imagine not going to school for five years due to the devastating war in Syria. Then undertaking a terrifying flight to Lebanon, trying to process difficult memories - only for the COVID-19 pandemic to close your school again. Then the devastating Beirut explosions happened. Still, Laila is working towards a better future.
Laila uit Syrië vluchtte naar Libanon waar ze door het coronavirus van War Child op afstand les krijgt

"Due to COVID-19, we're forced to stay home. We can't shop for groceries and don't go to school," says Laila. And she feels the absence of school sharply. For Laila, school is more than just a place to learn. It’s a place where she makes friends and has fun. Now she is not only scared for her family as the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold - she is also falling behind with her studies.

Laila’s teacher Hiba is worried - not only for Laila but for all the children in Lebanon. "Eventually we'll reach the point where children can't catch up on their lack of education,” she says. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, children feel the panic, anger and insecurity in the country after the devastating explosion in Beirut. “This will have major consequences for their development - and their future."

Libanese lerares Hiba van War Child geeft kinderen in Libanon op afstand les zodat zij ook tijdens corona school krijgen

Hiba is contact with Laila and her family on a daily basis to keep an eye on the learning achievements and the situation at home.

Distance learning

War Child is working to meet the education needs of children - and developing creative new ways to deliver vital support to children living in lockdown. We are supporting children like Laila to continue learning - using pre-recorded lessons and WhatsApp to bring learning opportunities direct to their homes.

If children can’t go to school, then we will bring school to them.

“I’m finally learning to read and write."
Laila - from Syria

Welcome distraction

Laila continues to learn using a digital tablet computer - which she uses to learn reading, writing and maths through fun and inspiring exercises from Can't Wait to Learn. Laila is drawing on her inner strength - and racing through her coursework to make up for lost time. “I can’t stop playing the games,” she says.

Can't Wait to Learn wereldkaart tekening leesopdracht War Child

The educational games on tablets are based on national curricula and are adapted to reflect the local contexts and experience of the children.

Ongoing support

Need advice? Children can ask teachers questions through WhatsApp. Hiba is always available for her students - solving problems through voice messages or short videos. She also provides a source of comfort. “The other day Laila sent me a text message,” Hiba recalls. “It said ‘teacher, I miss you so much’. A message like that makes me feel so sad.” Hiba maintains daily contact with Laila and her parents to help support their psychosocial wellbeing.

Despite all the challenges she has faced, Laila is still determined to build a better future for herself. She’s determined to become a teacher - and we are certain she will succeed.

Kinderen leren in Libanon via War Child's Can't Wait to Learn op tablets - meisje bij raam

Laila does not want to stop learning. She is developing well and dreams to become a teacher.

Together we can support children like Laila to continue with their learning - and help prevent the emergence of a lost generation of children. With your help we can deliver quality education to many thousands of children in their homes, settlements and tents. Every child affected by conflict is counting on a future. Can they count on your help too? Please donate now.

*All names in this story have been changed to preserve the safety of the children who take part in our programmes.