A grassroots education initiative in Lebanon has brought renewed dignity and hope to young Syrians uprooted by war
In a disused hospital in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, three teenage refugees set to work on a robot. Despite intermittent power cuts and blazing summer temperatures, the team buckle down, sweaty and studious, to program the robot to pick up and stack a number of small cones. It is a task requiring skills in coding, engineering, maths and science – an assignment unlike anything they learned back home across the border.
“In Syria, we could only hope to work on something like robotics, with so much innovation, and here we actively can,” says Weeam Salem, 17, who fled Damascus at dawn in 2014 by taxi with her family and nothing but a small backpack, after bombs began flattening her neighbourhood.