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Syrian refugee girls shine

On 4 August, a massive explosion in the Beirut harbour area left huge parts of the Lebanese capital in ruins. The next morning at 8.00am three Syrian girls, Aseel, Hadeel and Lujain, who live in Shatila refugee camp, just 5 kilometres from the blast, turned up to their classes. ‘We won’t let this chance slip.’ Aseel explains. ‘We know we have to work harder than a lot of students. And we will.’

The three girls are all students at Bishopstrow Online, set up in March by independent boarding school Bishopstrow College for International Students, in time for the new term on March 30. Children check in online from their home countries, including Russia, China, Mexico and Kazakhstan. Following a request for assistance, Bishopstrow Online was able to include the girls from Shatila Camp.

Despite living in tiny, damp apartments, which they share with eight to ten people, in a crowded camp housing 40,000 people in a square kilometre, Aseel, Hadeel and Lujan have all been awarded “Student of the Week” at Bishopstrow Online. Supported by scholarships, and logging into Bishopstrow daily from Shatila’s Alsama Teenage Centre, they are doing well.

The three girls recently stunned staff and students at Bishopstrow with their joint presentation on cricket. Unbeknownst to Bishopstrow, Aseel, Hadeel and Lujan were already members of Lebanon’s first female cricket team, and play six hours a week.

Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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