BEIRUT: The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development announced a new initiative Friday that aims to connect Syrian refugees attending schools in Lebanon and Jordan with British students.
Through the program, schools in Britain will be partnered with schools in Lebanon and Jordan who currently count refugees from the war-torn country among their student body.
The project will “pave the way for British school children and Syrian refugee children to build friendships, share their experiences and gain a better understanding of the wider world they are all growing up in,” U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said.
Secondary-school students in Britain will contact Syrian refugee children through Skype and letters, conversing primarily in English.
Additionally, the program will provide a platform for teachers in Britain to share lesson plans and exchange ideas with their colleagues in Lebanon and Jordan.
The program, overseen by the British Council, will begin in Lebanon and focus on 16 state-run schools currently hosting Syrian refugees.
More than 1 million children have fled Syria since the civil conflict began two and a half years ago, according to UNICEF. The influx has strained the capacities of schools and teachers in neighboring countries receiving the refugees.
“Teachers in Syria’s neighboring countries are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone in their classroom has the chance to learn, no matter where they are from,” Greening said.
The initiative will expand upon the existing Connecting Classrooms campaign run by the British Council. Connecting Classrooms has operated in Lebanon since 2008.
While focusing on Syrian refugees, organizers hope the program will also reassure Lebanese and Jordanian students that the world is paying close attention to the situation in the region.
In the next two months, the British Council will search for schools in the U.K. to participate.