Michelle Chung, Education Project Manager

We are celebrating our nomination as a finalist for the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, a prize that recognises organisations who have sustainable and innovative solutions to improve girls’ access to education. 

Whilst education is becoming increasingly accessible for many communities across the globe, more than 130 million girls are still out of school as they face multiple barriers to receiving a decent education. Some of those barriers include poverty, child labour, conflict and lack of access to quality education. 

The Breteau Foundation’s school bus supports refugee children and families based in Syrian refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Our school bus delivers primary school education to the hardest to reach children and girls. Since its establishment in 2018, we have seen a steady increase in girls accessing our school bus where today, we have classes with an attendance of 53% of girls. Over the years, the school bus has become a safe oasis for girls who meet with their friends and share their enthusiasm for learning. Our results show that across the board, students in our classes have 100% learner engagement and motivation, academic progress in literacy and numeracy skills and increased well-being and resilience.

What we’ve learned is that through our representation of women as Lebanese and Syrian teachers and as strong female protagonists in our teaching and learning content, more and more girls are able to see themselves in positions that challenge their traditional roles. Also, with the school bus being based in the settlements, families have not had to pay for transport and girls can easily and safely go to school. 

With now over 3,500 families who have built their trust and a strong relationship with our school bus team, the Breteau Foundation are humbled to be a nominee of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education which recognises our crucial work in Lebanon. We are proud of our team, their efforts and the impact we have seen in our programme on our families and their livelihoods, by ensuring all of their children, regardless of gender, have access to quality education.