©Carmen Moreno JRS Mena

Schools are where inclusion, reconciliation and peace are made possible. School is a healing place for children, particularly those in emergency situations.

Entreculturas and Alboan join forces with Fe y Alegría and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to offer educational access to displaced and refugee children, as well as spaces for interaction and welcome.

Our work fosters coexistence and prevents exclusion, both in schools and within communities.

I am Welcomed: I am the future

Together with Pueblos Unidos, our goal is to promote a culture of hospitality, welcome and solidarity for migrants who arrive in Madrid, particularly for minors, who are given a comprehensive reception:

  • ASupport: first aid, welcome, listening and orientation
  • Counselling
  • Spanish classes and training
  • Legal aid so that they learn about and defend their rights
  • Socio-cultural activities to promote their integration

We want every person who comes here with the hope of better opportunities—every child, every young person, every family—to feel like they belong to this society, to know their rights and to be able to get ahead.




Community sponsorship: hospitality and support

Together with the Jesuit Migrant Service, we participate in community sponsorship, a civil society initiative to welcome and support refugees who come to our country under vulnerable circumstances, ensuring real and safe integration in their new host country.

Through community sponsorship, we ensure that refugees are welcomed in a holistic way and can have the foundations they need to rebuild their lives and succeed.

This approach to integration involves hosting families in extremely vulnerable conditions for anywhere from 18 to 24 months. This directly involves the community in the work of welcoming and integrating refugees, assisting and supporting their integration processes, serving as the primary support network and attending to their material, emotional and personal needs as a whole.




Colombia: education that welcomes

More than 5.5 million Venezuelans have left their country over the past two decades, with 85% remaining 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 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.


Together with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Latin America and the Caribbean (JRS LAC) 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 escape the dynamics of violence and act as builders of inclusion and peace.

We work to respond to the emergency situations these communities experience in terms of food insecurity, lack of protection and lack of basic services.

In Colombia, in the Buenaventura region, work with JRS Colombia to also assist internally displaced persons from ethnic communities. An example is the Wounnan people, an indigenous community that lives in the lower Calima region and was displaced by clashes between armed groups.


We serve more than 5,400 people by providing them with basic necessities, health care and access to education. Through education, we promote the safety and protection of children against forced recruitment and their exploitation in illegal activities and encourage their integration and inclusion in the host communities.




Ukraine and bordering countries: coexistence and inclusion

Over 8 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 children.

When it comes to teenagers and young people, we offer a full range of artistic activities like theatre or dance performances, as well as language courses to help with communication and integration.

In addition to refuge, accommodation and food, we work to ensure that they have continued access to education, providing the resources they need so that can follow their classes in Ukraine online. We supply them with internet connection and tablets, as well as school supplies and other materials, so that they can connect.


We’ve also developed friendly classrooms. These are classrooms set up in schools and nursery schools in host countries that support the integration and hosting of Ukrainian refugee children. These are places where they can play together freely and which offer them a significant degree of normalcy. We are supported by Ukrainian mothers who are teachers and who can dedicate their time as volunteers. We also support teachers in host countries to help them handle the inclusion of refugee children.




Syria and Lebanon: education in emergency

Syria is facing a doubly critical period. The recent earthquakes compounded the population’s already precarious situation. Now 12 years deep into its civil war, 15.3 million people needed humanitarian aid before the earthquake hit and 6.8 million were internally displaced. Syria now ranks as the country with the most internally displaced people in the world.


The crisis has taken a devastating toll on education. Schools and universities have been under repeated attack, 1,584 to date, and dropout rates are extremely high. For over 10 years, we have partnered with JRS to provide health services and medicines to the most disadvantaged internally displaced persons, members of the local community and returnees, living in precarious conditions. We have made children a particular priority, to ensure their well-being and their access to education.

Working together with JRS, we have implemented programmes to provide assistance and refuge to refugees in Lebanon since 2012.

Over 5 million people have fled Syria to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, a country whose refugee population is a quarter of its total. A combination of weak infrastructures and a shortage of resources to cope with such a significant influx of refugees, the August 2020 explosions in the port of Beirut, the coronavirus pandemic and the political situation have plunged a large part of the local population, along with the refugees, into a fragile situation that has led to tensions between the refugee and host populations. More than 300,000 refugee children are still out of school.


Our educational projects address preschool education, primary education and school support in both urban and rural areas. We collaborate with children and their families to make it possible for children to access quality education and, where possible, to integrate into the Lebanese education system and society.


©JRS Líbano

©JRS Líbano

Tanzania: inclusive education

Some 248,000 refugees live in Tanzania. Of these, 67.4% are Burundian while the rest are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Fifty-five percent of the total population are between 0 and 17 years of age, and fewer than half are enrolled in school. The war, both in Burundi and the DRC, has deprived 57,142 children of an education.


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 are no official figures. This gap in information is important in itself: disability is not a focused of the humanitarian players in the camps in Tanzania.

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

Since 2022, we have also been committed to improving early childhood education for both the refugee population and the local community.

Only 21% of preschool-aged children attend nursery school, limiting their opportunities to interact with other children in a safe and protective environment and develop the social skills they need as they grow, and hindering their ability to cope with the trauma experienced as a result of their displacement. We are working with JRS to ensure that education serves as a bridge of peace between the refugee population and the host population.  




R. D. Congo: education that protects

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing one of the world’s biggest and most challenging humanitarian crises. It is the country with the most internally displaced people on the entire African continent and ranks 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-plus 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 at risk of sexual violence either at school or on their way home.

Boys are particularly vulnerable to forced recruitment by armed groups, while girls are at risk of sexual violence either at school or on their way home and are 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 to school, with a special focus on 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.




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 issues and their connection to global ones. We’re currently working on:


– Bridging 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 “Decide Convive: Educación para la Ciudadanía Global en Contexto de Exclusión(Deciding to Live Together: Education for Global Citizenship in the Context of Exclusion) methodology proposal and the latest teaching resources “Un mundo de cuento” (A Fairy-tale World) and “Un mundo en Movimiento” (A World in Motion).
– Creating teaching proposals targeted at young people via the motto “Nuestro Momento es Ahora” (Our Time is Now), geared towards both our network at home as well as the Red Generación 21+ (Generation 21+) international network that connects young people in over 27 countries.

Entreculturas and Alboan continue their work to ensure that education keeps protecting them




School protects them

©Fe y Alegría Colombia