Empowering Refugees: Ahmed’s Journey of Learning Against All Odds

Meet Ahmed, an 11-year-old refugee who fled the war in Syria with his family a decade ago, seeking safety in Lebanon. Ahmed and his family now live in a makeshift tent made of tarpaulins and various scraps, near a cashew nut farm owned by their landlord. During school breaks, Ahmed and his siblings work on the farm in exchange for their monthly rent, as their father can no longer work due to chronic leg pain.

Ahmed’s mother is the main provider for the family while also managing household responsibilities. The family fetches water from a neighboring house, relying on their neighbors for drinkable water. Winter is particularly harsh for them; their home is not adequate for the cold weather, and they struggle to keep warm and comfortable. With no electricity, they depend solely on a small solar cell to power their mobile phones.

Despite these challenges, Ahmed and his siblings eagerly look forward to attending the ADRA Learning Center School. They walk at least an hour to reach the center of town where the school is located.

“I love going to the ADRA Learning Center because we have good teachers,” says Ahmed.

The ADRA Learning Center in Baalbek serves 285 students this year. It caters to two main groups: retention support students aged 10 to 14 years old, comprising 215 students, and an early childhood education program for out-of-school children aged 5 to 6 years old, including 65 children. ADRA has been operating the Baalbek center since April 2021.

Both educational programs at the ADRA Learning Center are set to end in August 2024, which could significantly impact Ahmed and his peers. The center is currently seeking funding from various sources to continue its essential services and avoid the loss of several critical programs. These programs include

  • Retention support is provided to students (classes in all subjects based on the Lebanese curriculum), including remedial courses.
  • Psychosocial support and life skills sessions provided for both programs, benefiting parents, students, and children.
  • Distribution of dignity and hygiene kits for girls and families.

As of the latest update, Ahmed continues to attend the center daily and remains enthusiastic and eager to participate in all the activities the ADRA Baalbek center offers.

For more information on ADRA’s work with refugees around the world, visit: https://adra.org/world-refugee-day-adra-calls-on-nations-to-bring-hope-to-all-people-fleeing-from-conflict-and-persecution 

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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