In 2020 most of us, as parents, discovered the challenges of remote learning.
The circumstance of the pandemic has brought us to two understandings: the first is that distance learning is much more complicated and that often both, parents and teachers, do not have the skills, the appropriate digital means or even the right forma mentis to easily switch to this mode of teaching.
The second is that the (temporary) absence of a proper education system and the consequent distance from the school social context also presents several risks to a child’s education, not only in terms of learning needs but also in terms of personal growth, especially in this critical phase of his/her social development.
Now imagine for a moment to mirror this situation to a Country that is not ‘only’ facing the pandemic, a Country that is already in extreme difficulty and that does not have a traditional and consolidated educational system like ours.
Ten years on, the conflict in Syria continues to produce the gravest displacement crisis in the world; Lebanon is at the forefront of the crisis since its beginning and currently hosts 1.5M Syrian refugees, of which 54% are children, in addition to the 470.000 of Palestinians who live in refugee camps since 1948.
The conflict in Syria has significantly impacted Lebanon’s social and economic growth, deepened poverty and humanitarian needs and exacerbated pre-existing development constraints. In addition to that, in 2019 and 2020 Lebanon has been hit by multiple shocks, including the Beirut Port explosions on August 4th, 2020 which damaged 202 schools and 48 universities further reducing the system capacity. The explosions came at a time when Lebanon was dealing with a severe financial crisis, along with the Covid-19 pandemic.
An estimated 50% of the population already lived under poverty before the explosions. In such context, the 2020-21 school year start has been extremely challenging, and it will, at best, deliver only 50% of the curriculum.
The digital divide will create additional burden and, despite the measures taken to support distance learning, the lack of preparedness, of adequate infrastructure and capacity, as well as the digital gaps put additional strains on learners and on their parents/caregivers, who were unprepared for distance and homeschooling, particularly those with modest educational backgrounds, belonging to large families and with limited available digital resources and skills.
A terrible situation which we, with our reasonable inconveniences, can very slightly relate to.
So back in the last quarter of 2020, when we at RGI were periodically reviewing our end-year CSR initiatives, we had no doubts on where to give our support. Within our ESG program, in fact, we take care that our Group has every year a positive impact on the external world, by means of multiple actions, such as adopting policies strongly based on ethics and prevention of any possible misbehaviour, as well as giving back part of our company value to charitable initiatives.
Every year, the Christmas break gives us a perfect cue to match our policy on third party’s gifts and our willingness to make the difference for who needs it most.
We decided to stand with Terre Des Hommes, a very well-known international NGO, which we have been partnering with in the past 6 years and which was already operating in a dozen centers in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, coping with the disruptions caused by short-term lockdowns through adopting a “blended” and inclusive approach.
So, the amount allocated to our Season’s Greetings and gifts in December was destinated to support Terre des Hommes activities in non-formal education and retention services for 3925 direct beneficiaries in Lebanon for the next 12 months.
Also, as our Group strongly believes that education is the most powerful source of change and recovery, besides the social interaction that is essential to learning and development, we decided to do something more: to raise the awareness by opening fundraising to help them in preventing this crisis to undermine the future of the most vulnerable, both in terms of access to education and protection from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.
The fundraising is currently active here, over Rete Del Dono crowdfunding platform and it is accessible for donations from anybody who wants to stand with us to give a tangible sign of his/her support. So, take your chance too and click on the above link to donate for the Lebanese children!