Sonbola Group for Education & Development

STEM For Refugees Program is an innovative hands-on program that equips Syrian refugee children with 21st century learning skills and citizenship values developed by Sonbola Group for Education & Development (Sonbola).

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"STEM 4 Refugees" at Time of Conflict:
1) Provides a great source of resilience and hope through concrete solutions
2) Focuses on 21st century skills and knowledge for future employability
3) Primary driver of future economy is innovations derived from STEM-related fields
4) STEM jobs do not all require higher education or a college degree 5) Provides equal access to boys and girls 6) Great source for teachers' empowerment 7) STEM is vital for post-conflict and reconstruction phases in Syria

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.

What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?

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.

Next Steps

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.



I'm fascinated by what you do and think it is fantastic! I would love to meet with you at GIW this Thursday or Friday to learn more about STEM for Refugees, if you have any available time. I could share with you what we are doing with our Coverage as a Service innovation for rural populations, as well, if you were curious. But I really just want to learn more from you about your work. What you're doing is amazing. Please email me at if we can talk more. Thank you and I hope to hear from you. Be well, Elizabeth Griffin, Director of Outreach, VANU