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Video highlights refugee children’s experiences of education

21 September 2020

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and Multi Aid Programs (MAPs) have created a video about Syrian refugee children’s experiences of schooling.

Syrian refugees in school. Image: Brian Lally / Multi Aid Programs

The video highlights the work of a project, funded by UCL’s Global Engagement Office at UCL, that the IOE delivered with MAPs to give the children an opportunity to express their aspirations and views on how they learn. The project saw the researchers, led by Professor Eleanore Hargreaves, visit MAPs’ headquarters in Lebanon and the informal schools set up by the charity in May 2019.

The project team ran workshops with the children, allowing them to share ideas with the teachers and researchers. This was part of a wider mission to redress the balance of voices that are heard so that people in Europe and across the world, could perceive these children as vibrant individuals with energy and agency rather than as victims.

Within the video, the children talk about their dreams, hopes, the value of education and what they want from it. Through hearing from the children, the teachers can further address the pupils’ needs in their schooling and improve their practice and interactions with the pupils.

Professor Hargreaves said: “Very rarely do children have a voice in decision making about education. [But] they’re the best people to say actually how well it worked from them and what they learnt from it, what they say, how they felt, how their feelings affected what they learnt and what they will take away into their adulthood, as well as into their life now.”

Speaking in the video, one child says: “Although we have difficult lives, we have high hopes for our futures. We plan to go home to our country Syria to rebuild it and celebrate its people. Until that time comes, we will keep learning with each other and keep learning from each other. We will help make our country a better place. We will help make the whole world a better place through our close bonds with our friends, families and teachers. We will fulfil our dreams.”

Multi Aid Programs (MAPs) is a Syrian-led non-governmental organisation registered in Lebanon that operates in marginalised communities across Bekaa and Arsal, providing health, relief and education to Syrian refugees, vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinians.

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  • Syrian refugees in school. Image: Brian Lally / Multi Aid Programs