Fratelli ... is a Lasallian and Marist educational project for refugee children and youth from Syria, Iraq, and Palestine that takes place in Lebanon.
Every day, about 500 children receive educational and psycho-social support in the ‘Fratelli’ project: 50 children are welcomed to the educational centre of Bourj Hamoud, a working-class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Beirut, and over 400 attend the centre set up in the former Marist school of Notre Dame de Fatima in Rmeileh, near Saida.
The Fratelli project welcomes children and their families mainly from Syria, but also others who are Lebanese, Iraqis, and Palestinians. They offer educational programs for those who had no access and support programs for those who were already integrated into formal education.
Since its founding in 2016, about 900 children have received educational and psycho-social support in the educational center of Rmeileh-Saida - thanks in part to financial support from three Lasallian secondary schools whose graduates attend Manhattan College:
Catholic Central High School in Pittsburgh,
La Salle College High School in Philadelphia, and
Saint John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, Florida.
The children and youth who attend the Rmeileh Centre are almost all Syrians who fled their country after the start of the internal conflict, but there are also Lebanese children. The centre of Bourj Hamoud is mainly attended by Iraqi refugees, who also escaped from Daesh’s violence and threat.
To them, ‘Fratelli’ means the opportunity to go to school - even though it is not a formal school - and to learn what is needed to access the Lebanese educational system. This is in fact the aim of the Fratelli project: offering an alternative to a whole generation of children and youth who, having abandoned their countries because of the war, run the risk of staying out of school for years due to bureaucratic difficulties, disparities in school curricula, and family instability.
Attention to the person has always been a priority in the Lasallian and Marist educational philosophies, and psycho-social support is the focus of the ‘Fratelli Project’.
For more information, this 2016 report may be of interest.