Abdel, 10, does not know when he will be able to return to school. The buildings were damaged in the explosion and his teacher injured.
“I wish the explosion never happened,” says Abdel. “Maybe when my teacher gets better, we will study together again. I want to go to school to play, study, learn and have fun with my friends.”
More than 183 educational facilities were damaged in the explosion, affecting more than 85,000 children and youth.
Getting children back to education – whether in classrooms or via COVID-enforced distance learning – is critical. The safe space of a classroom or the structure of online learning can help children work through the traumatic experiences they have been through and return a sense of normalcy to their lives.
Child-friendly spaces, like the one Abdel and Omar attend at a public garden in Beruit, provide a safe space for children to play and learn.
"Coming to the safety park helps –
with the team from UNICEF we play games
and we learn some easy things together."
“It’s not the same as school, but when you’ve lost as much as we have in this neighbourhood, something like this becomes really important.”
UNICEF and partners are supporting the rebuilding of primary schools and vocational training centres and replacement of furniture and equipment. UNICEF is also planning to distribute laptops and tablets and finding innovative ways to ensure children can continue learning at home.
For young people the focus will be on providing the skills they need to help rebuild the city – and offer them much needed jobs, helping to ease the pressure on their families’ finances.