Syrian child refugees learn in a makeshift tent classroom in the Kfarzabat informal tented settlement, in the eastern Bekaa Valley. A lack of space and the use of English and French are two main challenges in integrating Syrian refugee children into the Lebanese curriculum. UNICEF, through local NGO partner Beyond Association, supports education, child protection and health interventions in more than 100 informal tented settlements in the country, the majority in Bekaa Valley. Approximately 1,000 people, including 300 children, live in the settlement.

From 31 October to 1 November 2013, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake visited Lebanon to highlight the Government’s efforts on behalf of Syrian refugees in the country and to raise awareness of the need for increased international support for health, education and other basic services in response to the escalating Syrian crisis. Lebanon is hosts to largest number of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic. By 23 October, nearly 796,000 Syrians had sought refuge in Lebanon to escape the civil conflict in their home country. Syrians have also fled to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey, bringing the total number of refugees to over 2 million, half of them children. Mr. Lake visited a public school integrating Syrian children and an informal tented settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley during his visit, meeting with Syrian child refugees, schoolteachers, social workers, psychologists and medical teams. UNICEF supports initiatives in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection in refugee and host communities in Lebanon, including the provision of child-friendly spaces and psychosocial assistance for children traumatized by their experiences due to the conflict. Working with diverse governments, partners and other United Nations agencies, UNICEF has appealed for US $470.65 million to cover responses within the Syrian Arab Republic and all host countries. UNICEF requires a total of US $125.4 million to support its work in Lebanon through December 2013.

(Source: Learning For Peace, UNICEF)

By Joey Ayoub

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