Mission and Vision
STEM For Refugees was piloted at Sonbola Learning Center in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon from October 2016 until January 2017 with 50 young participants , 50% of them were girls. The Program was then share and officially launched under the sponsorship of the American University of Beirut early February. Until August 2017, 3 cycles of the STEM Program have been implemented with a total of beneficiaries 150 participants, half of them are girls. Progress is measured through a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system, on-going observation and assessment of children's pre- and post perspectives and understanding of STEM education.
STEM For Refugees Program is aninnovative hands-on program that equips Syrian refugee children with 21st century learning skills and citizenship values developed by Sonbola Group for Education & Development (Sonbola).
How does your innovation work?
1) To provide refugee and vulnerable young boys and girls with quality and relevant education; 2) To sensitize young refugee and vulnerable learners to STEM-related knowledge and skills; 3) To empower young refugee and vulnerable learners to commit to education and pursue STEM-related vocations/careers; 4) To empower teachers through STEM literacy and teaching and contribute in improving their professional skills.
In phase 1, the program is designed to address children and youth from age 10 up to 16+. Learners become better informed about the relevance of STEM through hands-on and contextual experiences leading to solutions that are applicable in their lives, and sensitized to civic values. The learning skills that learners acquire are: team work, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The knowledge that they become better informed about is: scientific literacy, technology literacy, civic literacy and innovations.
In Phase 2: The content focuses on the theme of “The Reconstruction of Syria”. Leaners in learn how to apply their acquired knowledge and skills to rebuild their country. The theme is mainly divided into three core sub-themes: 1) Prepare for the rehabilitation of each area by removing landmine and recycling trash; 2) Build homes, schools & hospitals; 3) Find innovative solutions to create and sustain energy via cost effective solutions such as solar, wind and hydroelectric powers.
STEM For Refugee Program_ A Disruptive Innovative Solution Due to the growing vulnerability of Syrian refugee children and youth in Lebanon, due to the lack of quality and relevant education offered to them, and to the increasing livelihood challenges leading more children to dropout from schools and to become exposed to child labour, exploitation and all kinds of threats including early marriage (for young girls), NGO Sonbola Group for Education & Development (Sonbola) and The Little Engineer Corporation (TLE) decided to put their respective expertise and efforts and develop jointly an exclusive partnership program that helps those children and young adults re-connect with Education and acquire relevant knowledge and skills through meaningful and insightful learning experiences. Unlike the approach adopted by most Education Responses to the Syria's Education Crisis as mentioned above, STEM For Refugee Program adopts a contextual and comprehensive approach towards the Education of Syrian refugees by providing a powerful, impactful and innovative educational program as described above and below. Unlike most of the Education Responses, STEM for Refugees is a solution that addresses the core discrepancy in Syria and Arab Education Systems, which is the lack of relevance, 21st century skills and quality education.
Planned Goals and Milestones
The resources that are needed for STEM for Refugees Program to scale are the following:
This phase has been accomplished. STEM For Refugee has been developed, tested and piloted successfully through the investment of Sonbola NGO. Currently it is being implemented and integrated as one of the essential non-formal education program at Sonbola's Learning Center in Bekaa. Three cycles have been already completed with a total of 150 beneficiaries.
1. Scale the Program by identifying the potential implementing partners such as the INGOs or local NGOs who are ready to partner with Sonbola NGO and host or integrate the implementation of the STEM For Refugee Program as part of their educational activities.
2. Funding the replica model which includes training new staff; salary of the teachers, coordinators and evaluators, set-up equipments, running expenses (management, transport, rental, materials).
3. Develop a mobile Unit that can scale the program at a lower cost and access wider and more remote and vulnerable communities
1. Scale the Program beyond Lebanon, namely inside Syria and at a global level.
STEM for Refugees is an innovative modular program that can be implemented at any school after school hours or as an extra-curricular activity for Syrian refugees, or at any community or learning/training center either inside Lebanon or outside. The program has also been developed as mobile model to be implemented at various premises/locations once a week ( or more depending on the demand) and deliver its engaging and hands-on program directly with the beneficiaries at community level.
Moreover, the content is addressed the specific challenges that refugee encounters and faces in their daily lives and is developed into phases. Currently Phase I is fully developed and has been implemented in a 3 months cycle. Phase II is under way to address more complex and advanced challenges. With regards to expansion, budget and structure of a replica model is developed based on the existing community centers and implementing partners. This expansion is very cost-effective because it saves on the administrative expenses and leverages on the community outreach that each center has already invested in.