SB Overseas is a very small “grass roots” NGO based in Brussels which increases awareness and raises funds to help sustain and expand projects on the front lines of the refugee crisis. Since 2011, an estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes. The majority of these people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. Many refugee children and young people have missed out on years of education due to conflict. To fill the gap, SB Overseas provides non-formal education to hundreds of refugees in Beirut, Arsal and Saida, and supports schools in Syria, in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Manbij.
Their team is based in Brussels. CEO Louma is from Syria and started up this NGO herself from Belgium. This is one of the few NGOs recognised as being real ‘grass roots’ given the fact that it was started up by a Syrian woman in the first place.
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). They support these three schools in Syria with money for salaries, materials and repairs, which they use to follow a programme based on the model of our Lebanese schools.
Many refugee children and young people have missed out on years of education due to conflict. To fill the gap, they provide non-formal education to hundreds of refugees. A large number of child refugees have been left without access to public education. In many cases, they will have already missed key early years in their education, due to the breakdown of services in areas affected by the conflict. Without urgent support, the children risk becoming a “lost generation”.
With the objective of reducing this educational deficit, they have established three non-formal schools in Lebanon but they also support three more inside Syria.
SB Overseas and Education.
Having spent four years as a permanent teacher working in a Gaelscoil in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Éadaoin Moore decided to take a break last summer and try something new for a little while. After her time traveling South America last autumn, she decided to travel to Lebanon in the new year and work with Syrian refugees in Shatila camp on the outskirts of southern Beirut. She departed in February having never traveled to do this type of work in a refugee camp before.
In each of the three schools in Lebanon, they run a core programme for the younger refugee children, with the aim of preparing them for entry tests into the public education system, a crucial factor in their chances of success. They also run programmes of catch-up education for older children who are over the age of compulsory education and consequently have reduced access to the public system. Finally, by offering literacy programmes for younger and older refugee women, as a means of empowering them to navigate a new world. To support SB and their work, many of us in Córdoba, Spain embarked on a sponsored walk on Saturday, March 4th 2017. With the help of Isabel, at Tapas Bar Magerit (c/ Eduardo Lucena), we gathered for food and drinks later that evening. All funds went directly to support the funding of Arsal camp in the North east of Lebanon bordering Syria.
Her time there was a unique experience and seeing her and hearing about her experiences in Dublin during the Easter period of 2017, it was evident that it proved to be a real eye-opener. Many thanks to all those who attended and/or donated. Unfortunately we didn’t have the weather on our side but we enjoyed the morning and we had a nice breakfast after. It was amazing to get such a good turnout despite the fact we were looking forward to walking the more scenic route to Las Ermitas in the sunshine!