• Education

Lebanon: A Literacy Centre in Beirut's Impoverished Suburbs

The challenge of schooling for refugee children

  • Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2012 and the emergence of Daesh, Lebanon has admitted over one and a half million refugees into its territory.  They include many children for whom schooling is a major challenge for a State with limited infrastructure.
  • 59% of refugee children do not go to school.
  • State schools in Lebanon have set up a "shift" system whereby Lebanese children go to school in the morning and in the afternoon it is the Syrian children’s turn. However, several factors, like insufficient funding, limit the scope of this arrangement. Faced with these deficiencies, local initiatives take up the shortfall and eastern churches are involved in providing services for these children.

One man's initiative

  • After miraculously recovering from an illness following a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Charbel, Tony Nekhl decided to devote his life to helping the poor in the Beirut suburb of Bauchrieh.
  • With his own money, he initially opened a restaurant called "Saint Raphael and the Fraternity", an establishment where the poor in the neighbourhood could have a free lunch. Subsequently, given the flow of migrants as a result of the conflict in Syria – and above all the number of children not receiving any education – he transformed his restaurant into classrooms. With the help of volunteers, he provides literacy courses for children living in the neighbourhood.

Help the Bauchrieh centre to continue its mission

  • Nearly 140 children aged 4 to 16 years attend the Bauchrieh centre every day. In addition to lessons, the centre also serves hot meals for the children, their parents and also for all poor adults living in the area. The centre does not benefit from any funding; it operates thanks to individual donations and to the dedication of its director and his employees.
  • The centre’s five teachers come from refugee families themselves. They rely on their regular salary to make a living.
  • Many operating costs also need to be covered (food, rental of rooms and a minibus to transport the children to the school).
For payments by cheque or money transfer, please indicate project code: T70507

Tour of the Bauchrieh centre with Tony Nekhl