Six years of wait come to an end as Fatima enters a classroom for the very first time.

Fatima* is holding on to her school bag as she crosses the playground. There is a visible spring in her step. This is the first time in her 12 years that she beholds the colourful walls of a school.

Walking into the classroom, Fatima is greeted by her teacher and classmates; some younger, others older, but all of whom are yet to know the alphabets. Just like Fatima, this is the first time they have been to a school where there are tables, books and teachers.

“My reading [skills are] not very good yet, but I am happy here because I can learn and write my name in English and Arabic."

“I didn’t go to school [in Syria]. There were planes flying everywhere and I was worried they would drop something. When I came to Lebanon, my grandmother told me that they destroyed the school in my town.”

At Save the Children’s Basic Literacy and Numeracy classes in Beirut, Fatima and her friends are prepared to join formal education. They learn about the letters and numbers and are equipped with the basic skills to help them integrate in the Lebanese education system.

Fatima hopes that, when she grows up, she will have made up for all the years she spent without education.

“My biggest hope is to join the formal school and learn how to read and write."

*Names have been changed for protection.


Fatima lost six years of education between Syria and Lebanon. When she tried to enrol in school, she was deemed too old to join. At Save the Children’s Basic Literacy and Numeracy classes, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), she joins 150 students in education activities that teach them basic reading, writing and maths skills and prepare them for the first year in formal education.