Student or Wife? Refugee girls fight for education in Lebanon

“More than anything, she wanted to return to school, but instead she was expected to get married, to take care of her husband’s family and have children of her own.”

This is the reality for hundreds of refugee girls in Lebanon; their past may be marked by the trauma of war in Syria but their futures are not secure once they’ve found shelter Lebanon.

Over 40% of Syrian refugee children are not attending formal schools in Lebanon; this means that without education, they cannot enter the labor force, pursue a career path, be economically independent—or be educated members of society.

Kids love school. As much as children and teenagers sometimes complain about school, it’s the place where we build our personalities, friendships and grow as individuals. Could you imagine what your life would be like if you had to leave school at age 7, and were never able to go back?

This is the case for many children in the “lost generation”—refugee kids who have lived their formidable years in conflict, sometimes fleeing to save their lives and living in precarious conditions. Even once they’ve found safety, education is often not a priority.



Last week at event with World Solidarity Forum, the founder of SB OverSeas Louma Albik told a story from Lebanon, of a young Syrian girl whose father beat her every time she would go to our catch-up school. But after each time, the girl would still come back.

After two years, when she completed the program and was accepted into the formal school, her father, realizing how important education was for his daughter,  made a celebration, invited the teachers and others from SB – he said he regrets every time he beat her.

While this story sheds a light of hope on a difficult situation, for many families marriage may be more of a secure future for a young girl, than going to school.

In the third edition of our comic series on child marriage, we see Aisha’s story through the incredible artwork and storytelling of Félix Brassier.


‘Just Married’: Aisha’s Story | SB OverSeas

Aisha finds herself in Lebanon after fleeing the war in Syria and without any school to go to. Her family decides the best future for her is to be a wife, but Aisha is unhappy in this role, and instead fights for her ability to get an education.

Aisha finds herself without any school to go to. Her family decides the best future for her is to be a wife, but Aisha is unhappy in this role—she is abused by her husband and she resists his demands. He wants a housewife, but she wants to go to school—something that he has prohibited her from doing.

Aisha is miserable but preservers and finds hope after her divorce, when she registers for SB OverSeas’ youth empowerment program. She now has purpose, has made friends, is happier and sees a brighter future for herself.

Since this issue came to our attention at the beginning of the year, SB OverSeas has been determined to raise awareness, through stories like Aisha’s and others who faced similar circumstances.