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Sarah: I cannot not go to school | by DFID - UK Department for International Development
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Sarah: I cannot not go to school

Sarah, (front desk left, white hijab) aged 12, is back in the classroom after leaving her homeland - and her old school - behind in Syria.


Her family fled the fighting in Dara'a, Syria in 2012 - seeking safety in Lebanon.


Today, she attends the Bar Elias school in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley - a school supported by UK aid and UNICEF to help accommodate Syrian refugee students.


"I've been here for three and a half years" says Sarah.


"I'm happy that the head teacher enrolled me in this school and now I can continue my education. The teachers treat me the same as the Lebanese students".


The school now runs a morning shift for Lebanese and Syrian students and an evening shift allocated for Syrian refugees. The curriculum has been amended to help the Syrian students integrate.


"We are happy here in Lebanon but it is not my country", says Sarah. "My country deserves me. I cannot not go to school".




Today, around 500,000 Syrian refugee children live in Lebanon - forced to flee the crisis in their homeland, and to leave their school behind.


In the last year alone, more than 200,000 were brought back into school – thanks to a Lebanese government enrolment programme, backed by UK aid and UNICEF.


There is more to be done: we must ensure all refugee children get an education to avoid a lost generation of Syrian children.


Getting every Syrian refugee and host community child back into education by the end of the 2016-17 school year is a key aim of the Supporting Syria and the Region conference on 4 February. The conference is being co-hosted in London by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations.


For more information please visit


Picture: Adam Patterson/Panos/DFID




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Taken on January 12, 2016