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Hi Em,

Thanks for your inquiry about our idea – we’re glad it sparked your interest. In terms of the prototype, we are trying to build a test-module that integrates psycho-social support into our Teaching Women English program. For the past seven years, we have been targeting Lebanese women from across the country, predominantly in rural villages and neglected and/or at-risk areas. In order to better adapt this to the specific needs of Syrian refugee communities, we will incorporate positive psychology methods and activities into our curriculum. This involves enlisting the support of trainers from outside Lebanon with expertise in providing psycho-social support to refugee communities in general. That said, we will also be drawing on the experience of local organizations that have been working to provide psycho-social support to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Since our current local team in Beirut consists of individuals with backgrounds in education, peace-building, communication, informal education, and women’s rights programming with experience working with Palestinian refugee communities, we are well equipped to turn our attention to Syrian refugee women. Hayya Bina has been interested in working with the Syrian refugee community over the last years and, though we have experience working with vulnerable women, we believe that a higher level of expertise is needed to tackle the specific vulnerabilities and challenges faced by Syrian refugee women. Conditions of statelessness, exposure to violence, lack of legal security, endemic poverty, discrimination by host-country authorities, and the fact that 25% of all Syrian refugee households are led by single mothers are only a few of these additional and daunting challenges.

Our main assumption is that what has benefitted thousands of Lebanese women from vulnerable communities will also benefit Syrian refugee women, provided the curriculum can be adapted to address their specific needs. And since our Teaching Women English program is already developed to address the needs of adult Arab women, we believe that adding psycho-social methods to the curriculum (such as positive psychology) will only bolster the effectiveness of this new approach. We’re essentially hoping – or assuming – that these measures will improve their access to the job market and income-generating opportunities, further the education of their children, and generally improve their quality of life insofar as it enables them to take more control of their lives.

Hayya Bina is interested in collaborating with organizations and individuals with the experience to provide additional expertise that would support the implementation of our idea, particularly when it comes to developing our psycho-social module, in addition to organizations that could improve the technological, audio-visual tools of our program. Organizations interested in doing research on the outcomes of the proposed prototype are also welcome.

I hope this answers your questions. We look forward to hearing back from you.

Evan and the Hayya Bina team