Many of our readers already know that Lebanon, a country of fewer than 6 million people, has reached a breaking point in its capacity to host the almost 1.2 million Syrian refugees that have streamed into Lebanon as a result of the horrifying civil war in Syria these past three and a half years. What many of us may not know is that Mustafa al-Haj, a Syrian graduate of the University of Damascus (BA, 2010) and refugee, is the co-founder and principal of Tuyour al-Amal (lit. “Birds of Hope,”) an elementary, junior high, and high school desperately reaching out to US, European, Lebanese, and other Arab media, individuals, and NGOs to cobble together funding to keep the school afloat. Their Syrian curriculum and their innovative art therapy program are pioneering in the informal education system for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and their classes are showing positive changes in the children who enroll and continue to attend.

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