Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have been working around the clock to ensure that refugees and displaced children and youth can exercise their right to quality, relevant education.
Mohammad, 13, is one of these children. He is originally from Hama in Syria but fled to Lebanon together with his family six years ago. Now he lives with his parents, three sisters and three brothers in a small apartment outside Tripoli, North Lebanon.
“Although it has been six years since we arrived here, I still wish we can go back every single day. We could play football as much as we wanted in front of our home and we had a huge yard where no one bothered us,” says Mohammad. “In Lebanon we can never finish a football game, the neighbours always get annoyed and ask us to go back home. Now the situation is worse, we can’t do anything.”
Refugee children are bearing the blunt
When the activities stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak Mohammad and his brothers were very upset. Going to the NRC learning centre, meeting their friends, and learning was part of their daily routines. “It’s not easy to stay at home, I feel down but there is nothing we can do,” says Mohammad with hesitation. 
The Corona crisis has led to closed schools and disrupted the education to more than 1.5 billion learners. Refugees and displaced children and youth are bearing the blunt. Children and young people in displacement have often missed out on years of education already, due to war and conflict, and without any help, school closures due to Covid-19 will make them fall behind even further. 
“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning modalities, including via communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support and to safely refer people to other specialised organisations,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in North Lebanon.  
Due to the lockdown and fear of spreading the virus our colleagues are not able to visits the children and their parents. It is Mohammad’s mother, Fatima, that has sent us the photos, and it is our colleagues in Lebanon that have interviewed Mohammed and his mother.
“The remote learning has benefited my children a lot. Instead of leaving them behind during this period, NRC’s remote learning methods show us that NRC continues to care about the education of our children and appreciate their efforts to learn. It helps them connect with their inner selves, it gives them courage and strength to know their own worth,” says Fatima, Mohammad’s mother.
Nationwide lockdown 

On the 15th of March, Lebanon declared a state of general mobilization in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the nationwide lockdown, the basic survival and protection of the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon has become a critical issue. However, despite the challenges and to minimize the risk of exposure to beneficiaries and its frontline staff, NRC Lebanon continues its essential service delivery by only implementing critical lifesaving activities on-site and has tailored other programme interventions through different modalities to specifically support the national Covid-19 response.  

Stay and deliver
“Although our learning centres were closed due to the Covid-19 situation, we never stopped delivering educational messages to the children,” says Rayan El Baf. “We regularly contacted them and their parents over the phone to check on their wellbeing, raise awareness on the situation and share learning materials,” she says.  
Since the coronavirus lockdown, Mohammad spends most of his time at home. He either focuses on the NRC learning materials, revises the lessons, or plays with his siblings. He also sometimes helps his father at work, who sells coffee for a living.  

Caring teachers

“My teacher Rouwayda always supports us to solve the exercise when we need help. She is caring and fair. Our teachers make us feel at ease and insist that we understand the lessons before leaving the classroom,” says Mohammad.  

Mohammad’s mother is grateful for the support NRC gives her children. “They are always so happy when talking to the staff and are able to express themselves easily.”

“The remote teaching allows my children to revise and remember the information they received in the classes and bring some variety to the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown. This is not only helping them to learn but also to feel more positive about the situation,” Fatima says. “The remote learning and support given over the regular calls also helps me to communicate better with my children”, she concludes.  

New ways and solutions 

“Though adopting remote learning modalities, we have been able to develop a positive bond between us and the parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education. Luckily, we have not faced any difficult issues with the remote learning, and we are always trying to find new ways and solutions to deal with any challenges that might arise. However, the hardest challenge is perhaps that we cannot answer the children when they ask us when they can come back to our centres to see us and their friends,” Rayan concludes.  
 
“The learning centre was a place where I felt safe. I miss both my friends and the teachers. But most of all I would like to return to Syria,” Mohammad says. 
Photo: Private
Coronavirus

Remote learning in Lebanon

This is how we ensure the right to education for refugee children in Lebanon during the ongoing pandemic.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been working around the clock to ensure that refugee children and youth can exercise their right to quality education.

Mohammad, 13, is one of these children. He is originally from Hama in Syria but fled to Lebanon together with his family six years ago. Now he lives with his parents, three sisters and three brothers in a small apartment outside Tripoli, North Lebanon.

Due to the coronavirus crisis and school closures, NRC staff are no longer able to have direct contact with children and their parents. It is Mohammad's mother, Fatima, who sent us the photos, and NRC staff in Lebanon who spoke to Mohammad and his mother on the phone.

“Although it has been six years since we arrived here, I still wish we could go back every single day. We could play football as much as we wanted in front of our home and we had a huge yard where no-one bothered us,” says Mohammad. “In Lebanon we can never finish a football game. The neighbours always get annoyed and ask us to go back home.”

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have been working around the clock to ensure that refugees and displaced children and youth can exercise their right to quality, relevant education.
Mohammad, 13, is one of these children. He is originally from Hama in Syria but fled to Lebanon together with his family six years ago. Now he lives with his parents, three sisters and three brothers in a small apartment outside Tripoli, North Lebanon.
“Although it has been six years since we arrived here, I still wish we can go back every single day. We could play football as much as we wanted in front of our home and we had a huge yard where no one bothered us,” says Mohammad. “In Lebanon we can never finish a football game, the neighbours always get annoyed and ask us to go back home. Now the situation is worse, we can’t do anything.”
Refugee children are bearing the blunt
When the activities stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak Mohammad and his brothers were very upset. Going to the NRC learning centre, meeting their friends, and learning was part of their daily routines. “It’s not easy to stay at home, I feel down but there is nothing we can do,” says Mohammad with hesitation. 
The Corona crisis has led to closed schools and disrupted the education to more than 1.5 billion learners. Refugees and displaced children and youth are bearing the blunt. Children and young people in displacement have often missed out on years of education already, due to war and conflict, and without any help, school closures due to Covid-19 will make them fall behind even further. 
“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning modalities, including via communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support and to safely refer people to other specialised organisations,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in North Lebanon.  
Due to the lockdown and fear of spreading the virus our colleagues are not able to visits the children and their parents. It is Mohammad’s mother, Fatima, that has sent us the photos, and it is our colleagues in Lebanon that have interviewed Mohammed and his mother.
“The remote learning has benefited my children a lot. Instead of leaving them behind during this period, NRC’s remote learning methods show us that NRC continues to care about the education of our children and appreciate their efforts to learn. It helps them connect with their inner selves, it gives them courage and strength to know their own worth,” says Fatima, Mohammad’s mother.
Nationwide lockdown 

On the 15th of March, Lebanon declared a state of general mobilization in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the nationwide lockdown, the basic survival and protection of the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon has become a critical issue. However, despite the challenges and to minimize the risk of exposure to beneficiaries and its frontline staff, NRC Lebanon continues its essential service delivery by only implementing critical lifesaving activities on-site and has tailored other programme interventions through different modalities to specifically support the national Covid-19 response.  

Stay and deliver
“Although our learning centres were closed due to the Covid-19 situation, we never stopped delivering educational messages to the children,” says Rayan El Baf. “We regularly contacted them and their parents over the phone to check on their wellbeing, raise awareness on the situation and share learning materials,” she says.  
Since the coronavirus lockdown, Mohammad spends most of his time at home. He either focuses on the NRC learning materials, revises the lessons, or plays with his siblings. He also sometimes helps his father at work, who sells coffee for a living.  

Caring teachers

“My teacher Rouwayda always supports us to solve the exercise when we need help. She is caring and fair. Our teachers make us feel at ease and insist that we understand the lessons before leaving the classroom,” says Mohammad.  

Mohammad’s mother is grateful for the support NRC gives her children. “They are always so happy when talking to the staff and are able to express themselves easily.”

“The remote teaching allows my children to revise and remember the information they received in the classes and bring some variety to the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown. This is not only helping them to learn but also to feel more positive about the situation,” Fatima says. “The remote learning and support given over the regular calls also helps me to communicate better with my children”, she concludes.  

New ways and solutions 

“Though adopting remote learning modalities, we have been able to develop a positive bond between us and the parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education. Luckily, we have not faced any difficult issues with the remote learning, and we are always trying to find new ways and solutions to deal with any challenges that might arise. However, the hardest challenge is perhaps that we cannot answer the children when they ask us when they can come back to our centres to see us and their friends,” Rayan concludes.  
 
“The learning centre was a place where I felt safe. I miss both my friends and the teachers. But most of all I would like to return to Syria,” Mohammad says. 
Photo: Private
Read caption Mohammad and his brothers were all studying at NRC’s learning centre before the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo taken by Mohammad’s mother.

Nine years into the Syria crisis

Nine years into the Syria crisis, Lebanon remains a country with one of the largest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, hosting an estimated 900,000 Syrians. Together with around 29,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria in addition to approximately 500,000 Palestinians already present or born in Lebanon since 1948, this relatively small country has been under considerable economic and social pressure.

Despite the substantial progress made through government and donors’ commitments, major barriers to education continue to keep Syrian children from enrolling in learning.

UN data for the 2018-19 school year estimates that 58 per cent of children aged 3-18 (331,020) are out of school. Of these, 36 per cent (138,459) of compulsory school-aged children (aged 6-14) are out of school – defined as not in any form of government-recognised formal or non-formal education.

Refugee children are bearing the brunt

The coronavirus crisis has led to closed schools and disrupted the education of millions of learners in Lebanon. Children and young people in displacement have often already missed out on years of education due to war and conflict previously. Without assistance, school closures due to Covid-19 will make them fall behind even further.

When education activities stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Mohammad and his brothers were very upset. Going to the NRC learning centre, meeting their friends and learning were part of their daily routines. “It’s not easy to stay at home. I feel down, but there is nothing we can do,” says Mohammad with hesitation.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have been working around the clock to ensure that refugees and displaced children and youth can exercise their right to quality, relevant education.
Mohammad, 13, is one of these children. He is originally from Hama in Syria but fled to Lebanon together with his family six years ago. Now he lives with his parents, three sisters and three brothers in a small apartment outside Tripoli, North Lebanon.
“Although it has been six years since we arrived here, I still wish we can go back every single day. We could play football as much as we wanted in front of our home and we had a huge yard where no one bothered us,” says Mohammad. “In Lebanon we can never finish a football game, the neighbours always get annoyed and ask us to go back home. Now the situation is worse, we can’t do anything.”
Refugee children are bearing the blunt
When the activities stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak Mohammad and his brothers were very upset. Going to the NRC learning centre, meeting their friends, and learning was part of their daily routines. “It’s not easy to stay at home, I feel down but there is nothing we can do,” says Mohammad with hesitation. 
The Corona crisis has led to closed schools and disrupted the education to more than 1.5 billion learners. Refugees and displaced children and youth are bearing the blunt. Children and young people in displacement have often missed out on years of education already, due to war and conflict, and without any help, school closures due to Covid-19 will make them fall behind even further. 
“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning modalities, including via communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support and to safely refer people to other specialised organisations,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in North Lebanon.  
Due to the lockdown and fear of spreading the virus our colleagues are not able to visits the children and their parents. It is Mohammad’s mother, Fatima, that has sent us the photos, and it is our colleagues in Lebanon that have interviewed Mohammed and his mother.
“The remote learning has benefited my children a lot. Instead of leaving them behind during this period, NRC’s remote learning methods show us that NRC continues to care about the education of our children and appreciate their efforts to learn. It helps them connect with their inner selves, it gives them courage and strength to know their own worth,” says Fatima, Mohammad’s mother.
Nationwide lockdown 

On the 15th of March, Lebanon declared a state of general mobilization in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the nationwide lockdown, the basic survival and protection of the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon has become a critical issue. However, despite the challenges and to minimize the risk of exposure to beneficiaries and its frontline staff, NRC Lebanon continues its essential service delivery by only implementing critical lifesaving activities on-site and has tailored other programme interventions through different modalities to specifically support the national Covid-19 response.  

Stay and deliver
“Although our learning centres were closed due to the Covid-19 situation, we never stopped delivering educational messages to the children,” says Rayan El Baf. “We regularly contacted them and their parents over the phone to check on their wellbeing, raise awareness on the situation and share learning materials,” she says.  
Since the coronavirus lockdown, Mohammad spends most of his time at home. He either focuses on the NRC learning materials, revises the lessons, or plays with his siblings. He also sometimes helps his father at work, who sells coffee for a living.  

Caring teachers

“My teacher Rouwayda always supports us to solve the exercise when we need help. She is caring and fair. Our teachers make us feel at ease and insist that we understand the lessons before leaving the classroom,” says Mohammad.  

Mohammad’s mother is grateful for the support NRC gives her children. “They are always so happy when talking to the staff and are able to express themselves easily.”

“The remote teaching allows my children to revise and remember the information they received in the classes and bring some variety to the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown. This is not only helping them to learn but also to feel more positive about the situation,” Fatima says. “The remote learning and support given over the regular calls also helps me to communicate better with my children”, she concludes.  

New ways and solutions 

“Though adopting remote learning modalities, we have been able to develop a positive bond between us and the parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education. Luckily, we have not faced any difficult issues with the remote learning, and we are always trying to find new ways and solutions to deal with any challenges that might arise. However, the hardest challenge is perhaps that we cannot answer the children when they ask us when they can come back to our centres to see us and their friends,” Rayan concludes.  
 
“The learning centre was a place where I felt safe. I miss both my friends and the teachers. But most of all I would like to return to Syria,” Mohammad says. 
Photo: Private
Read caption Mohammad is doing his homework. Photo taken by Mohammad’s mother.

Remote teaching

“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning using communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in north Lebanon.

“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning using communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in north Lebanon. Photo: NRC
Read caption Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in North Lebanon. Photo: NRC

“The remote learning has benefited my children a lot,” says Fatima, Mohammad’s mother. “Instead of leaving them behind during this period, the remote learning methods show us that NRC continues to care about the education of our children and appreciate their efforts to learn. It helps them connect with their inner selves and gives them courage and strength to know their own worth.”

With support from European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), NRC is also providing Mohammad with remote psychosocial support under the Better Learning Programme (BLP) to help him cope with stress during these challenging times.

“I love practising the breathing and balance exercises. Although it is a bit difficult, the different techniques help me calm down and reduce my stress,” says Mohammad. “Also, the life skills session about setting goals has pushed me to keep practising football and not give up on my dream to become a professional football player,” he adds.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have been working around the clock to ensure that refugees and displaced children and youth can exercise their right to quality, relevant education.
Mohammad, 13, is one of these children. He is originally from Hama in Syria but fled to Lebanon together with his family six years ago. Now he lives with his parents, three sisters and three brothers in a small apartment outside Tripoli, North Lebanon.
“Although it has been six years since we arrived here, I still wish we can go back every single day. We could play football as much as we wanted in front of our home and we had a huge yard where no one bothered us,” says Mohammad. “In Lebanon we can never finish a football game, the neighbours always get annoyed and ask us to go back home. Now the situation is worse, we can’t do anything.”
Refugee children are bearing the blunt
When the activities stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak Mohammad and his brothers were very upset. Going to the NRC learning centre, meeting their friends, and learning was part of their daily routines. “It’s not easy to stay at home, I feel down but there is nothing we can do,” says Mohammad with hesitation. 
The Corona crisis has led to closed schools and disrupted the education to more than 1.5 billion learners. Refugees and displaced children and youth are bearing the blunt. Children and young people in displacement have often missed out on years of education already, due to war and conflict, and without any help, school closures due to Covid-19 will make them fall behind even further. 
“To meet the needs of Mohammad and 1,200 other children enrolled at NRC learning centres in Lebanon we are now implementing remote learning modalities, including via communication platforms such as WhatsApp, combined with follow-up phone calls to provide guidance and support and to safely refer people to other specialised organisations,” says Rayan El Baf, one of NRC’s child protection technical officers in North Lebanon.  
Due to the lockdown and fear of spreading the virus our colleagues are not able to visits the children and their parents. It is Mohammad’s mother, Fatima, that has sent us the photos, and it is our colleagues in Lebanon that have interviewed Mohammed and his mother.
“The remote learning has benefited my children a lot. Instead of leaving them behind during this period, NRC’s remote learning methods show us that NRC continues to care about the education of our children and appreciate their efforts to learn. It helps them connect with their inner selves, it gives them courage and strength to know their own worth,” says Fatima, Mohammad’s mother.
Nationwide lockdown 

On the 15th of March, Lebanon declared a state of general mobilization in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the nationwide lockdown, the basic survival and protection of the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon has become a critical issue. However, despite the challenges and to minimize the risk of exposure to beneficiaries and its frontline staff, NRC Lebanon continues its essential service delivery by only implementing critical lifesaving activities on-site and has tailored other programme interventions through different modalities to specifically support the national Covid-19 response.  

Stay and deliver
“Although our learning centres were closed due to the Covid-19 situation, we never stopped delivering educational messages to the children,” says Rayan El Baf. “We regularly contacted them and their parents over the phone to check on their wellbeing, raise awareness on the situation and share learning materials,” she says.  
Since the coronavirus lockdown, Mohammad spends most of his time at home. He either focuses on the NRC learning materials, revises the lessons, or plays with his siblings. He also sometimes helps his father at work, who sells coffee for a living.  

Caring teachers

“My teacher Rouwayda always supports us to solve the exercise when we need help. She is caring and fair. Our teachers make us feel at ease and insist that we understand the lessons before leaving the classroom,” says Mohammad.  

Mohammad’s mother is grateful for the support NRC gives her children. “They are always so happy when talking to the staff and are able to express themselves easily.”

“The remote teaching allows my children to revise and remember the information they received in the classes and bring some variety to the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown. This is not only helping them to learn but also to feel more positive about the situation,” Fatima says. “The remote learning and support given over the regular calls also helps me to communicate better with my children”, she concludes.  

New ways and solutions 

“Though adopting remote learning modalities, we have been able to develop a positive bond between us and the parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education. Luckily, we have not faced any difficult issues with the remote learning, and we are always trying to find new ways and solutions to deal with any challenges that might arise. However, the hardest challenge is perhaps that we cannot answer the children when they ask us when they can come back to our centres to see us and their friends,” Rayan concludes.  
 
“The learning centre was a place where I felt safe. I miss both my friends and the teachers. But most of all I would like to return to Syria,” Mohammad says. 
Photo: Private
Read caption Mohammad and his family. Photo taken by Mohammad’s mother.

Stay and deliver

“Although our learning centres were closed due to the Covid-19 situation, we never stopped delivering educational messages to the children,” explains Rayan El Baf. “We regularly contacted them and their parents over the phone to check on their wellbeing, raise awareness of the situation and share learning materials.”

Since the lockdown, Mohammad spends most of his time at home. He either focuses on the NRC learning materials, revises the lessons, or plays with his siblings. He also sometimes helps his father at work, who sells coffee on the streets for a living.  

“The remote teaching allows my children to revise and remember the information they received in the classes,” explains Fatima. “It brings some variety to the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown. This not only helps them to learn but also to feel more positive about the situation.”

New ways and solutions

“Though adopting remote learning, we have been able to develop a positive bond between us, and the parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education. We are always trying to find new ways and solutions to deal with any challenges that might arise. However, the hardest challenge is perhaps that we cannot answer the children when they ask us when they can come back to our centres to see us and their friends,” Rayan concludes. 

“The learning centre was a place where I felt safe. I miss both my friends and the teachers. But most of all I would like to return to Syria,” Mohammad says.

Our education programmes in Lebanon

We run programmes for refugees from Syria at our community centres and NRC alternative learning spaces, and through support programming in Lebanese public schools and in schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Our education activities:

• support access to schooling and keeping children in school

• create non-formal education opportunities to reach out-of-school children, such as catch-up classes

• train teachers in informal educational methods

• renovate Lebanese public school buildings

• provide vocational training and language classes for out-of-school youth and young adults

• support UNRWA’s schools for Palestinian refugees by training teachers on child-centred approaches to teaching

Read more about NRC and education here.