Last November, I attended the Harvard for the Arab Weekend 2014 — an event that gathers Harvard Alums with invited students and public figures from the MENA region to discuss the present and the future of the region.
One of the most inspiring talks was given by Rania Succar, co-founder of JUSOOR, about the Syrian refugee education initiative as an example for finding inspiring solutions to current disasters in the region.
The facts about Syrian refugees are depressing, and beyond description. If the Syrian refugee population represented a single country, that country would have the lowest school enrolment rate in the world. Today, less than 25% of Syrian refugee children have the opportunity to go to school.
For nearly all leaders and diplomats, Syria is considered the worse humanitarian crisis in our lifetime; everything about this cause brings the notion of despair, hopelessness and giving up.
But the Jusoor leadership board had a different idea. They proposed and believed that the only thing worse than the current crisis would be for young professionals to not doing something about it. Rather, young children and young adults needed to see that young and established professionals would serve as role models to demonstrate leadership and to show what could and should be done amidst this humanitarian crisis. Rania and Jusoor chose action.
Jusoor, the Syrian NGO working on refugee education in Lebanon, accepted the challenge and have accomplished some achievements that will contribute to a better future of the country.
The key to doing that was empowering and inspiring the youth to get involved and to make a personal difference in the region. With volunteers from all around the world and almost no money spent, a thousand children have a chance of a better future now. And many thousands are still to get this opportunity to get their lives back.
This is not about Syrian refugee education; this is about determination and making a change. This is about young people not giving up on the future of Syria nor our world.