The RESCUE Partners gathered 20 experiences of work with Syrian refugees and IDPs during the period March-June 2017. Finally, after a selection phase, 17 of these experiences were analysed, 6 from European countries and 11 from partner countries.
The selection phase took into account the following aspects in order to collect and study the information properly:
- Projects, programs or activities running currently (at least during 2016). Activities or actions planned to be implemented in the future were excluded.
- Projects, programmes or activities with an impact or potential impact into the refugee crisis and the educational field.
- Projects, programmes or activities that give proper information in order to cover the majority of the questions proposed.
According with the selection criteria the initiatives were divided in 7 topical categories.
The Categories are the following:
- Social integration measures: addressed to improve the integration of refugee students in their new social and cultural environment. These initiatives cover a wide range of activities, for instance, language courses, raising awareness campaigns, activities;
- Labour market integration measures: actions, activities, and so on, addressed to improve refugee employability. The employability is defined as the capability of getting and keeping satisfactory work. In this field we find vocational training;
- Access to education. The access to education category involves measures addressed to facilitate, encourage and enhance the enrolment of refugee students into the educational system. This category integrates such measures as recruitment activities, removal or flexibility of some bureaucratic requirements, recognition of prior learning, accommodation;
- Financial support. The financial support includes free tuition fees, tuition discounts for Syrian students, scholarships, etc.
- Integration into the educational institution. In this category there are initiatives that fully or partially include activities addressed to facilitating the integration of Syrian students for instance buddy programs, mentoring, etc.
- Social and legal assistance. This is a complex category that includes psychosocial assistance and legal assistance;
- Networks/alliances. This category includes cooperation between different actors in the same initiative: NGOs (local, national, international), universities, European Union, United Nation agencies.
Important to point out that sometimes a single initiative can be categorized in more than one item.
Jordan River JRF (Jordan)
Institutions: Jordan River JRF
Name of Experience: Youth Career Initiative
In 2007, JRF joined forces with Business In The Community (BITC) and leading hotels to begin the Youth Career Initiative (YCI). As a result of this collaboration, Jordan became the first country in the Middle East to implement such a program. YCI was created to empower disadvantaged and vulnerable youth, by equipping them with relevant life and work skills and exposing them to a successful business environment and professionals who will enable them to make informed career choices and become employable. The Program’s strategy focuses on raising awareness on employment opportunities available for youth in the hotel industry, encouraging them and their parents to consider work in hotels.
More information at Jordan River Foundation.
The Program has achieved the following:
- 72 youth participants have successfully graduated from training courses with improved economic prospects to actively participate in the Jordanian workforce.
- 48 youth participants have successfully been employed in the hotel industry and tourism sector.
- 48 families have benefitted from the supplemental and regular income incurred by these employed youth.
- Seven YCI graduates have returned to the educational system.
YCI graduates have become role models for other youth within their families, peer groups 32 Refugees Education Support in Mena CoUntriEs and communities, in turn making these individuals potential YCI candidates.
Hotels have increased the percentage of qualified Jordanian staff, which indicates a general and increased acceptance of local participation in Jordan’s tourism industry.
The number of annual YCI youth applications has increased, reflecting a positive cultural change in Jordanian youth. The current fifth cycle of the Program includes 25 youth, of whom two are female
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Through its main programs Jordan River Community Empowerment Program (JRCEP) and The Jordan River Child Safety Program (JRCSP), JRF addresses the strategic importance of activating the role of youth as key players in the social and economic development of their communities, and is a strong believer that engaging youth in their communities through voluntary interaction at an early stage, and during adolescence, is a strong stimulator for civic engagement in adulthood. The Foundation has a strategic objective of promoting positive youth development by engaging young people in meaningful activities that enhance their skills and capacities. It works towards transforming communities’ perception of youth as challenges that should be controlled and addressed, and instead to regard them as partners in the decision-making process. JRF also encourages the fostering of interpersonal connections between youth from different backgrounds and experiences, and between youth and adults.
The organization has a small group of JRF friends, The Friends of JRF is a small group of women whose volunteer work is at the heart of the Foundation. It also has 17 partnerships with governmental organizations , in addition to many partnerships with local and international organizations.
Sustainability is achieved by volunteers. Also, there are a number of key stakeholder groups providing limited assurance of our sustainability. Finally, the financial sustainability is achieved by donations and governmental support.
The Training and Consultancy Services Unit (TCS) uses a capacity building methodology that strengthens beneficiaries’ technical and managerial capacities. This begins by assessing individual capacities and identifying capacity building needs, through specially designed forms and assessment visits. Following this, programs which meet these needs are designed, and TCS staff then follows up with these beneficiaries to evaluate business performance. Training topics and manuals developed by the Unit are based on TCS long-term involvement and expertise in building the capacity of JRF beneficiaries, CBOs and cooperatives.
As it can be seen from their methodology, it can be easily replicated in the partner institutions.
In order to capitalize on Jordan’s large youth population, JRF has developed a number of programs to directly engage youth and enhance their participation in the national and local economy. Through this approach, JRF has seen much success thus helping to tackle Jordan’s youth unemployment rate of 28.1% through the creation of jobs and self-start-ups.
JRF continues to work on tailoring additional programs that enhance civic engagement among youth. Through their participatory approach in the work that they carry out in local communities, they always strive to gain the trust of local youths in order to enhance and customize our programs to fit their needs.
The initiative has been tested and implemented and the reports at thier website reflect their success in this initative and the other initivative they launched
Name of Experience: Refugee Education Program: Generation Hope for Syria
Jusoor is a Syrian expatriate-led international NGO that supports various educational initiatives for Syrians affected by the conflict. In Lebanon specifically, the organization’s “Refugee Education Program: Generation Hope for Syria” enrolls Syrian students in primary and secondary schools throughout the country and provides informal education at centers in Beirut
and Biqa’a Valley.
According with the Program “Jusoor has been working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon since June 2013. Jusoor’s refugee education program in Lebanon seeks to ensure Syrian refugees in Lebanon have a holistic, well rounded primary school education through integration into formal schooling whenever possible, introducing contextual and relevant curricula and teaching methods to deliver informal education, and providing a strong psycho-social support within the framework of community engagement and rehabilitation”.
For more information: Refugee Education Program
Lunched in June 2013, the program is currently educating more than 1000 Syrian children. The program is led by displaced Syrian university students, with fundraising and other support from Jusoor’s international leadership.
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Syrian refugees include among them large number of Syrians aged 15-24, whose higher education, professional development, and technical training has been disrupted as a result of the violence and general deterioration at both Syrian’s high schools and its public and private universities. According to the report :” Uncounted and Unacknowledged: Syria’s Refugee University Students and Academic in Jordan,” higher education was a critical engine of development and social mobility in pre-conflict Syria.
The team is composed of two parts: employees who are employed by Jusoor, while others work as volunteers. The volunteer students have a desire to both continue their education and help their fellow Syrians.
The major difference of this initiative is that part of the working team is composed of Syrian students, i.e. the refugees themselves. Therefore, possible to replicate this idea in the partner institutions which will be very helpful in gaining sustainability.
This program, notable of both its efficacy and it ripple effects, represents an important example for the benefits that flow from connecting highly-motivated Syrian university students to opportunities to serve and work within their own communities.
TU Berlin (Germany)
Istitutions: TU Berlin
Name of the Experience: In(2)TU Berlin
Several facilities of TU Berlin are working together to enhance the academic and social situation of Syrian refugees at campus.
Main initiatives are:
1. Studienkolleg: Teaching German language exclusively for Syrian refugees to make them ready to attend lectures. Language stage C1 is needed for matriculation at TU Berlin.
2. In(2) TU Berlin: Refugees can attend classes without proper matriculation as guest students. When they pass the exam the received credit points are valid after matriculation.
3. Student counseling: General counseling of students who want to study at TUBerlin has additionally counseling Syrian students. This includes selection of suitable study programs, legal and administrative organization and career counseling. also the link between all other initiatives for refugees at TU Berlin. It as well connects to:
4. Psychological counseling: Several types of phobias are present among students, most often related to examination. Traumatized refugee students are advised in this unit and get recommendations for further treatment.
5. In(2) Tu Berlin Kultur Café: cultural exchange in a small café with thematic evenings. The students get into personal contact via music and other cultural activities.
The connection takes place between Syrian, other international and German students as well.
The management and connection of these offers makes the initiative successful and a key feature of universities effort to lower the obstacles of refugees to enter the higher education system.
More information at:
The initiative is running until October 2015. Until now, 2,600 refugees attended a personal information session. 1,400 obtained special consultation sessions. In relation to 10,000 information and 4,000 personal counseling sessions performed for all students this outcome seems to have a high impact and acceptance among the refugee students. Counselling is mainly done by one member of the student counselling office, a psychologist and several teachers for German language at Studienkolleg. A strong benefit of the initiatives in German language which is a substantial obstacle to enter university as the conditions are C1 level which is very ambitious to get in a short period of time. Legal aspects when entering a foreign administrative system is almost impossible to handle without help. This includes the whole options of German study programs but additionally of the German labour market
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Especially in Berlin the number of Syrian refugees is very high and the number of refugees who want to start or continue their academic education as well. Therefore, support is given by the government, DAAD funding especially for language courses and the local municipality.
First counselling sessions for In(2)TU Berlin program do not show a trend over time concerning the number of participants. For personal consultation the numbers are decreasing. This may be a result of the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey where refugees with an academic background are not allowed to go to Europe, especially Germany. Overall attendance numbers proof the need for the initiative. A general observation is that the number of refugees who take advantage of psychological help increases. The initiative is deeply implemented in the administrative procedures of students counselling and therefore is designed to be long-lasting and sustainable.
Beside specialties of national language, legal and administration issues the main advantage is the connection between these facilities and the capability to create strong network inside and outside university in a holistic way. This is exportable to any other situation concerning counseling of refugee students
Connection of facilities and interdisciplinary approaches to enhance the situation of refugees at university is not a new strategy but usually processes lack strong connections and synergy which increase high efficiency in a small amount of time. Taking the long-lasting structures like student counseling to face new problems makes processes more stable.
Hashemite University (Jordan)
Instituitions: Hashemite University
Name of the Experience: Establishment of an educational Program for the Syrian students
The objective of the “Establishment of an Educational Program for the Syrian Refugees” is to provide the Syrian refugees with the necessary soft skills and technical skills to cope with the difficult conditions they are facing. The program can be asset to them when they return to their country. The program is composed of 12 courses, 3 contact hours per week for 16 weeks for each course.
More information at Hashemite University
110 Syrian students are enrolled at various fields at Hashemite University a number of them have scholarships from international organizations and agencies such as the UNDP, programs. The Hashemite University in cooperation with the British Council organized for the courses in English to help them in their education process.
Here you have different types of financial aid that the university can receive to develop the activities/programs:
- Public Fundraising
- Private Fundraising
- Institution/organization internal budget
- Co-funding by EU/national or local government, etc.
The refugees are receiving the financial directly through a number of international agencies. The University facilitates this work but do not get the aid directly.
Still the University did not get any financial aid for the project
A number of the national NGO’s and United Nations Agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hashemite University to help the Syrian refugees in a way or another
The estimated per refugee is 2160 J.D.
Each institution depending on its capability can decide to what level the project is transferable
The project is based on a long experience in educations and training courses and in organizing conducting and supervising long and large projects.
The project is innovative in trying to provide the refugees with soft and technical skills which is usually not provided by formal educational ways.
The project was submitted to a number of funding agencies and NGO’s and still waiting for their response.
Higher Education English Access Programme (HEEAP) (Turkey)
Institutions: Instabul Aydin University, Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation
Name of Experience: Higher Education English Access Programme
HOPES (Higher and Further Education Opportunities and Perspectives for Syrians) is a €12 million project, funded by the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, ‘the Madad Fund’ and implemented by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) together with the British Council, Campus France and Nuffic. The life span of the project will be from April 2016 until November 2019.
Under Higher Education English Access Programme, HOPES offers university-aged refugees from Syria in Turkey, one hundred hours of English training and English certification through partnership with Karabük University and Istanbul University. HOPES is also in partnership with Gaziantep and Adana Universities, and the trainings are being planned with those universities as well.
Courses are offered to students from Syria who are enrolled in academic programs in English within Turkish universities. Students benefit from university-based English and study skills courses. The courses consist of 100 hour-face to face classes with a British Council trained local teacher, blended with a 40-hour online British Council course.
Students are required to take Online Placement Test to identify their levels before startingthe courses. Then they take APTIS exam to assess their level and achievement at the end of the courses. 79 Syrian students from Istanbul University and 46 Syrian students from Karabük University have attended English courses so far, 70-75% have successfully completed the program and received certificates.
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
English training is necessary for Syrian Students in Turkey since numerous university departments teach exclusively in English. A lack of English is the major barrier to refugee students to access and continue education in Turkey.
English skills will also help learners apply for and receive scholarships and access other educational opportunities in Turkey and improve their opportunities for employment where these are available.
HOPES project has a life span of 42 months, with a possibility of extension with a follow-up project, with similar goals and partners. In an institutional sense, the activities conducted within the scope of HOPES all aim at providing a capacity building tool for the stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the expected outcomes. For HEEAP, a teachers training is provided by British Council, to provide the university the necessary teaching skills and methods to ensure that the academic staff is fully capable of conducting similar trainings after the end of the project. Also through call for proposals, universities, local public administrations and local NGOs are funded for trainings and equipment to improve the capacity of the institutions to better cope with the needs of Syrian refugees as well as host communities, in higher and further education.
HOPES is already implementing HEEAP in RESCUE Project beneficiary countries, in tailoring the courses to the context of each country.
For HEEAP, British Council is using teacher’s trainings for a 100 hour face-to-face English training, as well as an online teaching module that is providing a flexible learning and teaching environment for both the instructors and students. The online tool is considered as a tool to further the classical class-room teaching outcomes, giving the students a chance to practice without any logistic limitations.
Istanbul Aydın University (Turkey)
Institutions: Instabul Aydin University, Internation Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation
Name of the Experience: Turkish Language Courses for Syrian Youth and Children Project
Turkish Language Courses for Syrian Youth and Children Project was launched by International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation, supported by Theirworld.
This pilot Project aims to eliminate language barrier as the biggest obstacle against school enrollment of refugees and creates various integration opportunities through communication. 600 young Syrian refugees between 15- 19 years old and 600 Syrian children between 5-6 years old are registered in the course schedule.
Academic part of the Project is being conducted by İstanbul Aydın University Turkish Language Teaching Center’s (TÖMER) experienced instructors and classrooms in Florya Campus and Bakırköy Continuous Education Center are being used during implementation.
Youth group will have the opportunity to start from A1 level and graduate from B2 level and the ones who can pass the exam will be granted TÖMER certificate.
At the end of this project, children are expected to better communicate with their peers and have a smooth transition to state school system through game based teaching techniques. In addition to this, young beneficiaries are expected to have better academic level at school and higher rates in university enrollment.
More information at:
Test results to measure the impact have not been produced yet. However, a considerable impact on the ease of language barrier in education for the beneficiaries and increase in their communication skills is expected. The number of the beneficiaries of the project is also considerably high.
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Considering the duration of Syrian refugees’ presence in Turkey and the decision that temporary training centers will be closed and the children will be directed to the schools of the Ministry of National Education, language is the biggest obstacle for Syrian youth to continue their academic life in Turkey.
We have a group of young people who cannot attend to the schools of the Ministry of National Education, or cannot succeed even if they attend, and has to leave it, because they cannot speak Turkish.
The project was focused on the two critical stages of education. First, it aims to improve the Turkish language capacity of 5-6 year-old children who will start school and prevent their alienation.
Secondly, for the 15-19-year-old group, project aims to increase the chance of continuing higher education or minimize the risk of being excluded from labor market due to language barrier.
IAU TÖMER is the project’s local partner and conduct the academic program. Theirworld is the international partner which support the program financially.
The project’s sustainability depends on the additional financial sources. However, upon this good practice example and experience, IAU TÖMER could develop and implement a general strategy for language training to Syrians.
The project is transferable to other institutions and countries. However, considering the special situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and the language structure of Arabic, the academic content and the training of trainers would necessitate some revisions.
In Turkey, there is no other project/program implemented by an NGO which could grant a TÖMER certificate to the beneficiaries
University of Duhok (Iraq)
Institutions: University of Duhok
Name of Experience:
Description of the initiative
The University of Duhok accepted around (1200) undergraduate students at their different Colleges and departments as guest students (IDPs and Refugees) and eventually sends the credentials to their home universities.
The ongoing services are for English language given by the British Council.
The University of Duhok, College of Nursing has conducted a campaign on “Breast Cancer Awareness” for the IDPs and Refugees women at the camps.
The University of Duhok, College of Dentistry has conducted a campaign on children teeth examination.
The University of Duhok, Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies with the help of the New York University conducted hundreds of lectures and workshops on peace building and consolation among the youth of the (IDPs and Refugees) at the camps.
An International Conference on Peace Building has been hosted at the UoD and sponsored by the US Consulate General in Erbil and the Kurdistan Regional Governorate.
The UoD gave premises to the University of Mosul to use for their students to have classes during a period of one year after ISIS breakthrough. Our Volunteer students frequently go to the camps to help (IDPs and Refugees) through the UoD, NGOs and Governmental bodies.
More information at University of Duhok
The number of IDPs and refugee enrolled students in Duhok city is around 1200 students, the rest of them could not attend the university. The main reason for that is the limited capacity of the public universities in Duhok, the missing documents and the hard living conditions of students and teachers and also most of them have to work to maintain life for their families.
Therefore, only around 1200 students and only 80 teachers were able to find teaching opportunities to participate in the different departments and colleges of the University of Duhok.
The impact of the initiative was good because those students have the chance to continue their study and did not lose any year of study. In the case of teachers, some of them were able to teach their students and help their families financially. Many of the students get benefitsfrom the summer vocational trainings, workshops and computer and English courses. These activities made them capable to find jobs and increase their income.
Zarqa University (Jordan)
Institutions: Zarqa University
Name of Experience: English courses (by British Council) and labour market Integration
The university is hosting 1047 refugee student mainly from Syria. These students receive services from student’s affair services common to all students. The university realized that refugee students need:
- financial and psychiatric support
- integration courses into new education system
Therefore, university is working on developing new services:
- academic orientation
- special transportation arrangements for refugee camps
- library and study rooms
Nowadays, Zarqa University is hosting:
- English language courses given by British council in collaboration with local and international organizations university English courses. The British Council offers scholarships. The English language learning is needed in order to facilitate the success into the Jordan Higher Education System where the classes are given mainly in English.
- The University is participating in an employment program addressed to Syrian students within the Edu-Syria Scholarship program. 21 Syrian students have been employed in various departments and Faculties at the university, and also will work on employing students with difficult circumstances during the coming semesters. This initiative is to follow up on the situations of Syrian students’ refugee to improve their income, as a result of current conditions. 50 Refugees Education Support in Mena CoUntriEs.
Other student services provided by the University:
- Health insurance
- Study room for refugee students
- Small library for refugee students
The university would like to unify its array of services available to refugees in one center to allow managing and improving services in more efficient way.
More information about the project:
1047 students in all faculties.
The initiative anticipated benefits are shown in the survey about refugee student’s needs, which proved the need for English and basic science courses, and career development courses.
The English courses have more than 85 % of Syrian refugees enrolled.
Zarqa University is collaborating with the following NGOs and institutions in order to support refugee students:
- EDU-Syria 1 and 2: Madad fund (Erasmus+) in collaboration with German Jordan University is supporting refugee students with full scholarships
- DAFI and Alhakeer funds is providing full scholarships
- Recentlly, university signed agreement with HOPES to give scholarships for master students. 4) Emarati Red Crescent Fund.
- Amal Foundation
- Awon fund
- Algharra fund
Transferability can be encouraged by holding workshops and sharing with other institutions.
The innovative aspect is the interaction with NGOs, this allow brining diverse array of services to students and non-student refugees in the future.
Future collaboration with NGO’s initiatives will bring services to refugee students.
Some challenges have been identified, for exemple, the continuous collaboration with NGO’s is needed to bring specific services to refugee students, like postgraduate scholarships, career orientation, legal consulting. etc.
There are plans to develop preparation academic courses for discounted refugees to help in integration due to difference between education systems.