Rayan’s school was a stone’s throw away from his house, but a seat was far from guaranteed.
Rayan* is surrounded by some familiar faces. Sat between two of his friends, he is listening to the teacher as she tests their maths knowledge on a white board. His books resting on his knees. "Maths is always easy. I learned how to multiply quickly and find the correct result.’’
What sounds like a school is in fact Rayan’s house. And the teacher making maths an easy subject is none but his own mother Soaad*. The living room was turned by Soaad into a classroom that schoolchildren attend twice a week, as part of Save the Children’s Homework Support Group activities in North Lebanon. She says anyone can walk in and learn. This is “a space for all children."
Rayan is preparing for a third year at school. The reality could have been very different had it not been for the Back to School campaign. Soaad says she was worried that Rayan was never going to join school, until he was referred during a door-to-door campaign by Save the Children to a public school, which happened to be the closest to their house.
Rayan’s knowledge-filled day has not ended. As soon as the maths exercises come to an end, he flocks with his friends to Save the Children’s Mobile Library in the public park. “I was reading the story of the idiot chicken. Thankfully she ran away at the end."
Who is Rayan?
Rayan joined Save the Children’s Early Childhood and Development centres in North Lebanon when he was four. When it was time for him to join school, his mother couldn’t find a space for him, until Save the Children’s Back to School campaign helped her to enrol him in one of the public schools.
Rayan continued to benefit from Save the Children’s Education programmes, including the Homework Support Groups and the Mobile Library, supported by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). His mother Soaad, meanwhile, volunteered as a teacher, opening her house and allowing children at risk of dropping out of school a chance to learn and improve.
*Names changed for protection purposes.