Heartland Alliance International (HAI) is a service-based human rights organization committed to protecting and promoting the rights of extremely vulnerable populations through an inclusive approach to comprehensive health and social and economic justice. One hundred percent of Heartland Alliance International’s programs apply a progressive and inclusive approach to protecting and promoting the rights of extremely vulnerable populations that are frequently excluded or forgotten by more traditional development programming. Heartland Alliance International is an industry leader in several specialized, often high risk and politically-sensitive programs areas such as children who have been trafficked, engaged in armed combat, have suffered or are at-risk of suffering violence of some form, and those that have been orphaned/separated from their families; women survivors of discrimination, violence, and trafficking; institutionalized individuals; sexual minorities including LGBT individuals; female sex workers; people living with HIV/AIDS; survivors of trauma and torture; mentally ill individuals; displaced individuals; and indigenous and other ethnic and cultural minorities that have suffered violence and/or discrimination.
Since 2013, Heartland Alliance International (HAI) has been providing holistic services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. HAI’s unique “Safe Space” model helps participants heal from their physical and emotional trauma and equips them with the practical tools and knowledge they need to become empowered, financially-independent leaders.
HAI’s Safe Space model includes English, French, and Arabic language classes for Syrian refugee boys and girls by providing basic literacy and numeracy courses targeting out-of-school children and youth. The literacy and numeracy courses are based on the BNLP, a structured Basic Numeracy and Literacy Program curriculum developed by the National Education working group (co-chaired by UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNHCR, and in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education) which provide children with the skills necessary to participate in the Lebanese educational system. Though these programs have yielded important, concrete results thus far, it is clear that more comprehensive interventions are urgently needed.
HAI implemented three French classes in Akkar and two English classes in Tripoli targeting a total of 125 out of school Syrian refugee boys and girls. The language classes play a critical role in ensuring that Syrian refugees can more actively participate in the Lebanese school system, which delivers nearly 60% of its curriculum in either French or English. Classes were conducted at HAI’s Safe Spaces in Tripoli and Akkar and were carried out over a three-month period ending in December 2017.