Over 250 hours of training and more than 50 administrative staff trained by EU partners. 8 Rescue support Units operational in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. More than 20 crash courses performed for the benefit of local communities, refugees and IDPs students. Ongoing cooperation in the region with relevant stakeholders such as UNHCR and DAAD. This is the reality of RESCUE R-SOS units in the Middle East and these numbers are the proof of the RESCUE members’ commitment towards refugees in the region.
Despite all the difficulties and the problems faced by RESCUE partners, after 2 years and half RESCUE Support Units are operational and are providing the needed support to deprived students in the middle of a crisis which is not over yet.
As demonstrated by the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the region (12-14 March 2019), the Syrian crisis is far from being solved and both hosted and hosting communities are suffering from this situation which is not bearable anymore. Moreover, this crisis is changing and the challenges we were facing some years ago are different from what we are facing nowadays. Therefore, as Higher Education System practitioners and representatives, we must be flexible enough to be able to face it and adapt ourselves to the new conditions on the ground. The only way to do that is to work in a close cooperation with local partners, on a daily basis.
Lost generations are in front of us: each time that as RESCUE project team, we visit a refugee camp in Jordan or Iraq, each time we meet Syrian refugees in Lebanon in their informal settlements all over the country. But most likely, the real lost generation is the one we do not see.
It has been widely demonstrated that only 1% of the refugee population in the world is able to have access to higher education. These data are the result of several reasons. Among them we consider the most relevant the low quality of secondary education to which these students have access to. Once in Azraq, during a meeting, a man looked at us and, without any anger, told us: “What is the reason why should I send my son to school? There is no future for him in education, then it is better to let him go to work so he can help the family in these harsh conditions”. The son was 12 years old.
Many other children are living in the same conditions and we consider that nowadays the real crisis is the one affecting pupils, because of the poor quality of secondary education. We cannot lose an entire generation excluding it from a social, cultural, economic and educational point of view because this will lead them towards bad masters and then towards dangerous paths. If not guided properly, traumatized and marginalised youth, are more inclined towards radicalization paths.
These issues can be understood and eased only in cooperation with other relevant stakeholders, local partners and the international community. This is what RESCUE is trying to do, having in mind that a cooperative approach will ease fragmentation. This has always been the UNIMED guiding philosophy.
Therefore, we call our partners and members in using, at their utmost convenience and for upscaling processes, the RESCUE experience and the services offered by R-SOS Units the Middle East. We urge them to cooperate with these local offices, build together new projects for the benefit of hosted and hosting communities, sign operative Memoranda for their sustainability.
We, as UNIMED, will be there, ready to support, coordinate and manage all these efforts. We will stay committed on these points as part of a strategic commitment which is part of our long-term strategy and that has always been part of our philosophy: supporting local communities, refugees and IDPs.
We believe in them, and I believe in their destiny
(Gibran Khalil Gibran)