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SERGI CÁMARA ©Photo

We continue to work so that schools continue protecting

Progress, made both in terms of access to education for millions of refugee children, as well as their protection from violence, could be reversed as a result of schools being closed due to Covid-19. Schools are also the starting point for interventions for child protection.

Together with our partner organisations, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Fe y Alegría, we continue to work to ensure that children find refuge in schools and that their protection is guaranteed.

Although schools were or are still partially or totally closed, we continue to support children at home via distance learning, by offering them a daily meal thanks to food distribution, and providing them with psychosocial support.

We also support the implementation of measures to ensure a safe return to school; this involves information campaigns on preventing contagion, installing hand-washing stations and providing hygiene kits.

LEBANON: a transition to a model of distance learning

Over the past year we have made a great effort to implement online classes and allow a large number of students in JRS schools in Lebanon to continue their schooling. In total, 1,861 students (879 boys and 982 girls) joined the distance learning programme, which has also allowed students to continue their daily routines despite being in lockdown.

NADINE MALLI ©photo

Online classes are combined with distributed educational materials as well as 3G data cards to ensure students have Wi-Fi connection.
‘Teachers are concerned about their students’ ability to learn and about being able to give them a proper education remotely. Similarly, they were very attentive in case any of their students had automatically moved on to the next year without having the knowledge corresponding to the year they would be in,’ explains Rayhana Itani, an education technician in Baalbek.
Food, protection and support
Suspending classes in March last year led to the end of school meals putting the food security of these children at risk – for many of them their school lunch was the main meal of the day. Faced with this situation, JRS started distributing food baskets to the families of the students.
///‘Teachers are concerned about their students’ ability to learn and about being able to give them a proper education remotely,’ says Rayhana Itani, an education technician in Baalbek.

NADINE MALLI ©photo

Continuing to have classes – even though they are still online – has, to a great degree, allowed a channel of protection for refugee children to be maintained. Both schools and social centres have continued to give psychosocial support services for Syrian refugee women and children, including telephone support and other strategies to accompany them while in lockdown.

BURUNDI: making soap for prevention and hygiene

In Burundi, we work in refugee camps that house displaced people from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and in particular from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are fleeing conflicts in said countries.

JRS Burundi ©foto

///We care for almost 16,000 students.
We have schools and nursery schools in Kinama, Musasa, Nyankanda, Kavumu and Bwagiriza camps, where our work is focused on schooling and vocational training, and where we care for almost 16,000 students.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have implemented a contingency plan to ensure the safety and protection of our teams as well as that of the refugee and displaced populations we work with.
///Following the COVID-19 outbreak, we have implemented a contingency plan
As the most important hygiene and prevention measure involves hand-washing with soap and disinfectant, we have increased access to products such as soap for the refugee population in and around the Kinama and Musasa camps by promoting soap-making within the camps themselves.

JRS Burundi ©foto

CHAD: the silent pandemic suffered by girls

Covid-19 has highlighted the critical role that schools play in protecting girls. School closures during lockdown has had a major impact on their education, and has exposed them to further violence, trafficking and exploitation, and child labour.

IRENE GALERA ©foto

Emergency contexts, specifically health crises, increase poverty, isolation, and school dropouts, in turn increasing the risk of physical and/or sexual violence, early pregnancy, child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
If further efforts are not made, the impact of Covid-19 could result in 13 million additional child marriages and, due to the interruption of prevention programmes, 2 million cases of female genital mutilation could take place over the next decade.
We are working to strengthen the mentoring and monitoring of girls, school support, and community and family sensitisation to ensure they continue their education and avoid child marriages.

IRENE GALERA ©foto

///The effect of Covid-19 could result in 13 million additional child marriages.

MALAWI: ensuring children’s food security

Over half of Malawi’s 18 million people live on less than $1 a day, yet the country is home to more than 40,000 refugees at its Dzaleka camp, just a few kilometres from the capital. Most of the refugee families are there having fled the genocide in Rwanda or the violence and war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

JRS Malaui ©foto

///Entreculturas and JRS provide educational support to more than 3,000 children in pre-school, primary, and secondary education, as well as 700 young adults in vocational training.
Today, 25 years after the start of the conflict, Dzaleka continues to receive refugees from neighbouring countries and finds itself in a chronic crisis, with scant access to water, sanitation, livelihoods, healthcare and education. Entreculturas and JRS provide educational support to over 3,000 children in kindergarten, primary and secondary education.

JRS Malaui ©foto

During this emergency, we have been providing support to ensure that refugee children continue learning, but in addition, and given that school meals are often the main meal of the day for most of the students, during the lockdown we have been distributing oatmeal flour to 290 families (5kg per family). Furthermore, and hand in hand with UNHCR, we have also installed water and hand-washing stations for more than 2,000 people.

VENEZUELA: assistance and reception on the borders with Colombia and Brazil

85% of Venezuelan migrants and refugees remain in the region. Countries like Colombia and Brazil have seen an increase in arrivals of Venezuelans and 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 – on the middle section of the border with Colombia – now has almost 37,000 Venezuelan refugees. Last April, very tense situations arose on this stretch of the border due to the fighting on the Venezuelan side, causing over 5,000 people to flee to Arauquita (Colombia). The JRS team that works at its bi-national Arauca-Apure office has been providing special support to this displacement-affected area and offering food, hygiene kits, biosecurity kits and mosquito nets.
On the border with Brazil, the city of Boa Vista is already host to more than 40,000. As the city does not have enough shelters, many people, including families with children, are living on the streets and occupying public spaces, such as bus stations and entrances to hospitals.
///Together with the Jesuit Refugee Service-LAC we are helping over 2,000 people in these border areas with Venezuela by distributing food and aid for shelter, providing transportation and helping to purchase medicines or medical care.
A lack of access to safe or adequate housing, clean water and hygiene materials puts these people at very high risk from the spread of the pandemic.

SERGI CÁMARA ©photo

In addition, they face severe food insecurity; this affects, in particular, children and pregnant mothers, who suffer from higher rates of malnutrition. They lack access to health services and to the proper information on how to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is an urgent need to get the thousands of Venezuelan refugee children into school and to get young people into the national vocational training systems.
Together with the JRS-LAC we are helping over 2,000 people in these border areas with Venezuela by distributing food and aid for shelter, providing transportation and helping to purchase medicines or medical care. We also offer psychosocial and legal support for their rights to be restored.

A GLOBAL reality

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

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– Decreasing the digital divide: by detecting, in the centres and organisations with which we work, those young people who lack access to computer resources and by managing resources to meet their needs.
– Supporting vocational training teachers via the virtual implementation of a programme to improve their employability.

DANIELA MORREALE ©photo

– 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”.
– The creation of teaching proposals targeted at youngsters, via the motto  “Nuestro Momento es Ahora”, aimed at both our network at home as well as our international ​Generation 21+ network that links youngsters in over 27 countries.

Entreculturas continues to work so that education continues to provide protection

SERGI CÁMARA ©photo

Education saves lives.