Imam Ouzai is an isolated half-built four-story settlement near Saida, Lebanon, where around 1400 Syrians — almost all of them from the same village — take shelter. The structure is tucked between a new hospital and a private high school. It is incomplete and poses significant health and safety hazards to the refugees living there.
Families are living in cramped quarters, with two toilet blocks for the entire community. At night, the hallways are pitch black. Gaps in the wall meant for windows are covered with wood and sheets of plastic. Sewage flows into open spaces on the ground floor and drips into the unused, trash-filled basement.
More than half the refugees in Imam Ouzai shelter are children.
Syria's children are overwhelmingly suffering "toxic stress" from the brutal war - a war-related stress, brought on by bombings, loss of family and friends, and near-constant insecurity. Toxic stress leads to a number of problems, including bed-wetting, self-harm, aggressive or withdrawn behavior. If not given urgent support system for the children, they (we) will suffer the consequences of untreated trauma in the years to come. The impact could result in more than a lost generation of children, it may lead to an increased risk for uncontrollable and criminal behavior.
SB Overseas operates three non-formal schools in Lebanon: in Beirut, Arsal and Saida, with the objective to reduce this educational shortage. They run a core programme with the aim of preparing them for entry tests into the public educational system. Additionally, they educate older children who are over the age of compulsory education, and consequently have reduced access to the public system.
Their programmes are designed according to modern practices of participative, creative and holistic learning, whose modules include awareness sessions, life skills courses, and psychosocial support for children and young people (particularly for the many who have lost a parent).