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Supporting the futures of Syrian children

In 2018, the Saïd and Asfari Foundations, alongside other generous supporters and the International Rescue Committee, set out together to ensure that Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon have access to education and opportunities that will help them thrive. 

Through the Building a Better Tomorrow programme we are providing Syrian children, including adolescent girls and street working children, with basic literacy and numeracy classes. We are also addressing the surrounding issues they might be facing that threaten their safety and prevent them from accessing an education.  

Through life skills sessions and psychosocial support sessions, we are helping children to build resilience and process their mental health challenges. For adolescent girls, we are offering an IRC developed programme called ‘Girl Shine,’ which was designed to empower young girls to protect themselves against gender-based violence. Caregivers are also able to receive cash assistance to support the needs of their families.   

The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the ongoing economic crisis continues to challenge the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. To ensure we are having the greatest impact, the IRC constantly evaluates the situation facing the community to respond effectively. Therefore, activities have been adapted with local partners, Jousour al Nour and LebRelief in order to continue the same level of care and support provided to Syrian refugee children and their families.

If you would like to hear more about the Building a Better Tomorrow programme, please reach out to Alaina Patterson: [email protected]. You can also learn more about other areas of our work in Lebanon here

Our impact

To date, the IRC has helped thousands of Syrian refugee children and their families through the Building a Better Tomorrow programme.


Thousands of children and their families have been supported through the Building a Better Tomorrow programme, here are some of their stories. 

Abed’s Story

Abed attending a focused psychosocial support session with the International Rescue Committee.
Abed, above, attending a focused psychosocial support session with the International Rescue Committee. Photo: Pascale Feghali/IRC

15-year-old Abed fled Syria in 2013 to the North of Lebanon to seek refuge. His experience of armed conflict, fleeing Syria, and the loss of his father at age 12 to cancer has caused significant distress. While most children are able to seek out safety in times of distress, Abed was forced to work on the streets to help cover his father’s medical costs and support his mother and six siblings. Abed was exposed to number incidents of child endangerment on the streets, and his family continued to struggle financially, all while struggling to cope with trauma. After connecting with the IRC, Abed received case management services and attended focused psychosocial support sessions. He was able to stop working on the streets and the IRC connected him with vital resources and referrals to other NGOs for cash and food assistance. His family is currently waiting for final approval of their resettlement to Australia.

Farah’s Story

After her divorce, Farah, 50, became the sole breadwinner of her family. Forced to leave Syria at the start of the crisis in 2011, her and her family sought refuge in Lebanon where she lives today. Farah has six children, one of whom has an intellectual impediment. Due to a lifelong struggle with asthma leaving her unable to work, she was forced to depend on her eldest son for financial support. With the rapid decline of the Lebanese Pound and clashes with her landlord, Farah was struggling to keep up with her monthly rent payments. Farah eventually reached out to the IRC using the Protection Monitoring Hotline. The IRC intervened on Farah’s behalf and negotiated with Farah’s landlord, postponing her imminent eviction. Her family then received Emergency Cash Assistance and were able to stay in their home.

In this short video, clients and staff from the Building a Better Tomorrow programme share the help they have received with the generous support from the Asfari and Saïd Foundations. We would like to thank Akram, Jaafar, Rym, Israa and Fattoum for sharing their experiences with us.

We are so grateful for the continued generosity and dedicated support of the Saïd and Asfari Foundations and all the Building a Better Tomorrow Appeal donors. Thank you for your commitment to our work, together we are providing Syrian children and their families in Lebanon access to an education and crucial knowledge for their futures.