Thousands of refugees have fled the war in Syria to Egypt in the last few years. Plan International is providing assistance to refugee families, and particularly children, in Cairo and Alexandria.
In partnership with the NGO Ansan, Plan International is also offering classes for refugee children who struggle with the local Egyptian Arabic, or who missed out on classes during the war in Syria.
Hanin, 14, is from Homs city in Syria. She came to Egypt 4 years ago with her parents and 3 sisters, and her older brother and his wife. Hanin says: “Everything changed in my life after I left Syria. I miss my brother and sister, my home and my friends.”
Maya, 14, is a Syrian girl who came to Egypt 3 years ago with her parents and brother. Her family at first refused to leave Syria, but decided to come to Egypt because of the worsening situation and because the children couldn’t go to school.
Everything changed in Maya’s life when she left Syria. Before, she was like every child and wanted to play most of the time, but when she left her home she felt that she had more responsibility and had to focus on her studies.
Nawara, 13, and Nada, 11, are Syrian sisters studying in the same school in Cairo. They came to Egypt 3 years ago with their family. Nawara didn’t go to the school after the war started in Syria. She is still in the fourth grade in elementary school.
Nada is in the third grade in elementary school, she dreams of being a teacher and misses her school in Syria.
In Cairo, Plan International is supporting schools for refugees with school kits and new equipment for classrooms, such as computers, white boards and desks. It is also renovating schools and improving water and sanitation facilities. The work is expected to benefit at least 2,500 students.
Arjimand Hussein, Emergency Response Manager, Plan International Egypt says: “A lot of children needed support to access education. Our approach was to support their families so they could get an education, and at the same time support the children by holding what we call remedial classes.
“These children have a language barrier that stops them understanding the Egyptian curriculum and Egyptian accent. Special classes help them to bridge the gap and understand the local curriculum.”
Helping refugees across the Middle East
Elsewhere in the region, Plan International is working with partners to support Syrian refugees. In Syria we have worked through partner organisations since April 2013 on projects to alleviate the impact of the conflict on children. Over 15,000 children have benefited from child-friendly safe spaces, support to enable education to continue, psychosocial programmes, targeted food and medical assistance and back to school kits. We have also helped survivors of gender-based violence and are meeting the urgent needs of vulnerable women and children in several communities in Syria.
In Iraq Plan International has worked through partners to provide emergency health services and psychosocial support for displaced families living in camps.
In Lebanon Plan International is working through partners to tackle gender-based violence, with a project that seeks to help vulnerable people within refugee and host communities.
Plan International is now setting up a presence in Jordan and Turkey, starting with deployments of experienced emergency response staff to both countries. Experts will be on the ground by the last week of October.