In 2013 Mohamad Aljounde and his family fled Syria to Lebanon where 1.5 million syrian refugees live.
Gharsah´s story starts in 2013 with Mohamad Aljounde.
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After volunteering in the Syrian refugee camps, Mohamad realized that many refugee children like himself couldn’t go to school.
So, he came up with the idea to build a tent where children can meet and receive informal education from volunteers.
Watch the video and learn more about Gharsah at the moment.
With the help of Syrian expats in Europe, Mohamad and his family were able to gather donations and build the tent. His idea grew into fruition, turning into an educational center where refugee children could learn and foster friendships. The tent was able to support 120 children and 20 women.
In mid-2015, while in the midst of their work, suddenly a decision to disband the camp was issued without any previous notice.
“Removing the tents felt like we were removing the dreams and hopes from the hearts of the children. All they understood was We won’t have a school anymore. We promised them that we would return.” – Mohamad Aljounde
With the support of local NGOs Mohamad and his family were able to reopen the centre again, not as tent but as a proper school building as Gharsah Center. At the time the school supported 170 children and 90 women.
Gharsah shool in a tent in 2014
In December 2017, Mohamad received the International Children's Peace Prize from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, securing funding for sustaining and expanding Gharsah Center.
Gharsah center moved to a bigger building to increase its capacity. And developed a strong team of qualified teacher, psychologists, and managers. Gharsah center increased their support to now encompass 240 children and 500 women on annual basis.
Malala Yousafzai and Mohamad Aljounde at the ICPP ceremony in 2017
Gharsah Sweden was established to support the school in Lebanon and raise awareness about the refugee status in Lebanon.
Due to the covid 19 Global pandemic, Beirut port explosion, and the severe increase in prices the situation in Lebanon is critical and uncertain. With that comes a lack of funding for grassroots initiatives like Gharsah Center. The children's program is the one affected the most by the crises, and it is now at the risk of shutting down.
Learn more about our programs here.
Gharsah center in 2021