Resettlement: The only way to give refugee children an education
Abed (15), and his uncle Nabil (55) are Palestine refugees from Syria who were forced to flee the war in Syria in 2012. Living in a small town in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with no movement freedom since they lack legal residency they desire to be resettled to live a dignified life.
“How will all the young refugees manage their lives?”, Nabil asks. “We are adults and we will find a way to survive but the children are actually the ones paying the price. They are losing their education, and without that their future is gone,” says Nabil.
According to Nabil, education is the true weapon for the younger generation and he wish his daughters could continue their studies. His wife used to be an English teacher in Syria. Now, she isn’t working because she fears being exploited or abused.
“People take advantage of refugees from Syria on a daily basis. As the majority don’t have their legal papers they can’t report abuse and I don’t want my wife to go through that”, says Nabil.
Lack of legal residency
“We left Syria because we didn’t want to be part of what was happening. We wanted our children to be as far as possible from the war. But we didn’t expect life to be this difficult in Lebanon,” Ezzat adds.
In Lebanon, hundreds of thousands of refugees struggle to make their stay in the country legal. 80% of Syrian refugees don’t have residency permits. This is made even more complicated by government procedures stating that refugees aged 15 and above must obtain valid residency permits, even though legal and procedural barriers make obtaining this residency almost impossible.
“None of my family members have a legal residency permit and it’s impossible to get one. We face more challenges than any other group of refugees in the country. We have been displaced two times over and we are constantly discriminated. We aren’t even allowed to work or able to renew our residency,” explains Ezzat.
Resettlement is the way forward
Nabil and Ezzat discuss the importance of resettlement [to a third country] stating that foreign government should resettle more refugee families. By being resettled their families and children would be in safety with their rights protected and respected.
“I just want to ensure a good life for my children. I don’t want anything else. They should be able to get the education they deserve. But we have to be resettled for that to come true, it’s the only option to give them a better future,” concludes Ezzat.
“I also want resettlement. Resettling to new country would mean a prosperous future and a life in dignity, that’s at least how I imagine it. The situation in Syria won’t get better soon and it doesn’t seem like Palestinians will be able to return anyway so we need another option,” Nabil adds.
“Also, to be honest, Lebanon doesn’t have enough capacity to take care of millions of refugees. The international community should therefore take its responsibilities and respect the declaration of human rights. We won’t bother anyone with our presence. I’m willing to work if offered any opportunity. I don’t want luxury but just to live the life we had in Syria,” says Nabil.
“I wish I could continue my education. I want the situation in Syria to get better so we don’t have to live and experience all the hardships our parents are going through today in the future,” Abed concludes with a smile on his face.
Photo: Racha El Daoi/NRC