Lebanon / ©photo KRISTÓF HÖLVÉNYI

For children, school is a place of peace, protection, inclusion and coexistence.

We work together with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), in countries such as Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Colombia.

Education is key for fostering dialogue in the face of conflict, empathy in the face of hostility, welcome in the face of rejection. Education is vital for creating a culture of peace and for building a fairer and more supportive world.

Helping, protecting and supporting child refugees, their families and communities. We offer them humanitarian help, psychosocial care and educational support as well as areas where they can play and live together, allowing them to return to a routine and have access to a decent future.

Ukraine and bordering countries: friendly classrooms.

Over 5 million people have had to leave Ukraine to bordering countries such as Poland, Hungary or Romania. Half of them are children.  


Within Ukraine, more than 7 million people have been forcibly displaced, many of them girls and boys. Since the start of the war, everyday, 22 schools are attacked or used for military purposes, leaving these children without playgrounds and learning spaces, and without safety.

From the very beginning, we activated our emergency protocol to be at their side and offer care, refuge and companionship.

In addition to refuge, accommodation and food, we work so they can continue to have access to education and to safe and peaceful spaces. That’s why we developed friendly classrooms. These are classrooms set up in schools and nursery schools in host countries that support the integration of Ukrainian refugee children. These are places where they can play together freely and which offer them a significant amount of normality. We rely on Ukrainian mothers who are teachers and who can dedicate their time as volunteers. 


When it comes to teenagers and young people, we offer artistic activities of all kinds, including visits to the zoo, theatre or dance performances, as well as language courses to help with communication and integration. We also support teachers in host countries to cope with the inclusion of refugee children. 


Furthermore, we encourage and support refugee children in Ukraine to attend their classes online. We provide them with school supplies and other necessary materials, as well as an internet connection and tablets so they can connect.

Romania / ©photo PILAR LÓPEZ Entreculturas

Romania / ©photo PILAR LÓPEZ Entreculturas

Ukraine / ©photo PILAR LÓPEZ Entreculturas

Lebanon: schools of peace.

The war in Syria began 11 ago and is a conflict with devastating consequences for the general population but in particular for children. Over 12,000 children have been killed or injured as a result of the conflict. All too often, boys have been victims of forced recruitment and girls have been forced into prostitution rings.


The education situation in the country is dire. Schools and universities have been repeatedly attacked; 1,584 to date, and dropout rates are very high. In schools that are able to continue functioning the situation is deplorable: overcrowded classrooms, too few teachers, an inability to provide adequate teaching as both teachers and students live with trauma…

Lebanon is unique as the number of Syrian refugees it hosts is equivalent to a quarter of its population. Its weak infrastructure and a lack of resources to cope with such a significant influx of refugees, the explosion in August 2020 at the Port of Beirut, the coronavirus pandemic and the political situation have plunged much of the local population – along with the refugees – into a situation of vulnerability that has led to tension and violence between the refugee and host population. More than 300,000 refugee children are still not in school. 


Since 2012, we have been implementing programmes – together with the JRS – to care for and receive refugees in Lebanon. Our educational programmes focus on preschool education, primary education and school support both in urban and rural areas.


We work together with children and their families to enable children to access quality education and, to the extent possible, to enter the Lebanese education system. We also work with both host and refugee communities to build peace and foster coexistence.

Lebanon / ©photo KRISTÓF HÖLVÉNYI

Lebanon / ©photo JRS Líbano

Lebanon / ©photo KRISTÓF HÖLVÉNYI

Tanzania: inclusive schools.

248,523 refugees live in Tanzania. Of these, 67.4% are Burundian while the rest are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 55% of the total population are between 0 and 17 years of age. Of them, fewer than half are enrolled in school. The war, both in Burundi as in the DRC, has deprived 57,142 children from going to school.


We have asked ourselves how many children with some kind of disability, either physical or mental, there are in the camps in Tanzania. The answer is that we don’t know. There is no official information. This piece of information is important in itself: disability is not focused on by humanitarian actors in the camps in Tanzania.

We work hand in hand with the JRS to make education a bridge of peace between the refugee population and the host population.

Since 2021, we have been working together with the JRS on the inclusion of children with special needs in school. This involves identifying them, providing the appropriate equipment for them to learn (glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc.), training teachers to have the necessary teaching skills, and raising awareness in the community of the rights of people with special needs.


Since 2022, we have also become committed to enhancing early childhood education for both the refugee population and the local community. Only 21% of preschool-aged children attend nursery school; this restricts them from interacting with other children in a safe and protective environment, limits them from developing the social skills they need as they grow, and hinders their ability to cope with the trauma experienced as a result of their displacement. 

©photo JRS

©photo Irene Galera / JRS

©photo JRS

D.R. of Congo: schools that protect.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing one of the world’s biggest and most complex humanitarian crises. It is the country with the most internally displaced people on the entire African continent, and is among the least advanced countries in the world with over 82% of the population living below the threshold for extreme poverty.


Violence by armed groups has been ongoing for 20 years and has already forced more than 5 million people to leave their homes.

Thousands of schools have been destroyed and over 2.9 million children urgently need educating.

Boys are particularly vulnerable to forced recruitment by armed groups, while girls are susceptible to sexual violence either at school or on their way home and likely to be kidnapped by the various militias to fight, cook for them or are forced to marry members of these armed groups.


We work together with the JRS to enable displaced children to go school, offering particular help to girls. We provide them with school materials, teaching kits and financial support for school fees. Schools are not only places of learning but also of protection, of support and coexistence.

DR of Congo / ©photo BÁRBARA GIL Entreculturas

DR of Congo / ©photo BÁRBARA GIL Entreculturas

DR of Congo / ©photo IRENE GALERA Entreculturas

Colombia: host schools.

More than 5.5 million Venezuelans have left their country over the past two decades. 85% have remained in countries in the region, such as Colombia, where they are trying to respond on a regional level with coordinated humanitarian aid efforts. However, the numbers are so high that they have placed an unsustainable pressure on national resources and public services. With a population of almost 90,000, the town of Arauca – along the middle section of the border with Colombia – now has almost 37,000 Venezuelan refugees, which has led to situations of tension and conflict.

We provide comprehensive humanitarian care for the physical and psychosocial well-being of refugees, distributing basic goods and services, offering psychosocial support to help healing, and offering legal guidance and support.

Together with the JRS LAC (Jesuit Refugee Service in Latin America and the Caribbean) we are working to provide refugee children with access to education and to enhance protective and preventive spaces, in schools as well as on a community level, allowing them to avoid the dynamics of violence and act as builders of peace.

Colombia / ©photo SERGI CÁMARA

Colombia / ©photo SERGI CÁMARA

Colombia / ©photo SERGI CÁMARA

A global reality.

This current context makes us understand, more than ever, that everything is connected. That’s why at Entreculturas and Alboan we focus on local contexts and their connection to the global context.
We are currently working on:

    • Decreasing the digital divide by detecting, in the centres and organisations with which we work, young people who lack access to computer resources, and by managing resources to meet their needs.
    • Supporting vocational training for teachers via the virtual introduction of a programme to improve their employability.
    • Psychosocial and educational support for teachers and educators via the methodology proposal “Decide Convive: Educación para la Ciudadanía Global en Contexto de Exclusión” and the latest teaching resources “Un mundo de cuento” and “Un mundo en Movimiento”.
    • Creating teaching proposals targeted at youngsters, via the motto “Nuestro Momento es Ahora”, aimed at both our network at home as well as our international network Red Generación 21+ (Generation 21+ Network) that links youngsters in over 27 countries.
At Entreculturas and Alboan continue to work so that education can keep on protecting them

©photo Daniela Morreale

©photo Daniela Morreale

©photo Daniela Morreale

School protects them.