About Alsama Project

Mission

Alsama means “sky” in Arabic. We educate refugee children and empower refugee women. We offer them a new horizons.

Alsama sets up secondary education centres, sports hubs and social enterprises in areas of the Middle East affected by conflict. Our projects are run for – and, in large part, run by – refugee communities.

It’s isolation that hurts us. When we stay separate from refugees and they stay separate from us.

Meike Ziervogel, CEO, Alsama Project

Vision and Values

We support our students and women to achieve what they thought is impossible.

We value commitment, collaboration and ambition as our core principles. We encourage these values in our students and staff.

Overview

Alsama began in January 2020 as a small girls’ empowerment centre, teaching awareness, cricket, and yoga to a few dozen teenage girls in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut.

Many of the girls could barely read and write. But it didn’t take long and they had caught the scent of education, wanting more. They asked us to teach them English, to help them budget, and learn to read and write correctly in their mother tongue, Arabic. So we established an education institute and expanded our cricket hubs. And whilst 65% of our students are female, we welcome both boys and girls into our schools. We are now teaching and empowering 660 students across 3 schools in 2 different refugee camps, running 13 cricket hubs with over 550 dedicated players,  sponsoring our most talented students through partner secondary schools as they work towards university, and providing employment to mothers through our social enterprise.

In addition, we have also began to train our older students to become the future teachers and leaders of Alsama. Alaa and Aisha have become social workers. 8 of our students are now yoga teachers, 32 of our best cricketers are doubling as coaches and 18 students work as welcomers, librarians or in our communications team.

Listening to our community’s needs, Alsama has big ambitions for the future – we intend to >3x our impact in terms of lives transformed until end of 2027, and to ‘go big’ on helping these at-risk teenagers & their families become productive members of the society in which they live.

In brief: Alsama is…

  • A start-up minded NGO supporting bottom-of-pyramid Syrian refugee teenagers in Lebanon.
  • Based in the Shatila refugee camp of Lebanon(today ~15x more densely populated than designed), with other centres in Bourj al-Barajneh and Beqaa Valley camps.
  • Primarily focused on the Education Institute, with complementary efforts:
    • Cricket (sports hubs for youth)
    • Sponsorship Fund(sponsorships for top 1-5% exceptionally talented students)
    • Vocational training (career preparation and soft skills training for our highest flying students)
    • Curriculum development (creating and testing an innovative curriculum and qualification for refugee children out of formal education)
  • Studio (our “sister” social enterprise, providing ethical & creative employment for women)
  • Registered in Lebanon (372/2021), in the UK (1191810), and in the US (87-1842640 as a 501(c)3) and governed & audited in all areas.

Looking back: how we’ve grown since 2020

Education:

  • Over 660 students kept out of child labour, crime, early marriage & teen pregnancy, or abruptly-ended education
  • 642 students taken from illiterate to literate (Arabic, English, Mathematics)
  • Teaching 4 hours per day, 44 weeks a year with attendance rates of over 95%
  • £731/$891 average annual cost of educating a 1st year Alsama student (77% of the global average of US$1,156)

Empowerment:

  • 53 students have been provided with paid employment opportunities (as Cricket Coaches, Yoga instructors, Social Workers, Communicators and more)
  • <1% of students leave school due to early marriage and <2% leave due to child labour
  • 50 women provided with financial independence through Alsama Studio (75% of whom are mothers of students at our schools)

Community support:

  • 1,500 families supported via empowerment & child protection & food
  • 100 families supported after the Beirut port explosion

Governance:

  • Legal entities and bank accounts established in Lebanon, the UK and the US

Looking ahead: Alsama’s overall aspiration – 2023-2027

  • Educate 1,800 students, providing them with world-class education that is relevant & applicable in “real life”, scaling a replicable school model across multiple refugee camps in Lebanon
  • Gain international recognition and accreditation for our ‘G12++’ qualification which Alsama students can achieve upon completion of the 6-year Alsama curriculum. The G12++ is currently in development and will serve as a passport to higher education for our top students.
  • Prepare our first cohort of 12 Alsama students to graduate from our curriculum and enter University with our G12++ qualification under their belt.
  • Develop leadership through cricket for 1,800 children with aspirations to form a national refugee team capable of beating international sides
  • Create at least 150 employment opportunities for refugees  via the Alsama Project more broadly, including our social enterprise in ethical fashion, Alsama Studio

If you are inspired by our mission & impact, we invite you to consider…

  • Providing personal financial support: Whether through multi-year commitments, monthly subscriptions, or one-time support
  • Providing institutional financial support: Whether as corporate sponsors or grant-making foundations
  • Supporting us with expertise or pro-bono projects: Making introductions to potential partners or sponsors: E.g., contributing ERP system & training staff,  contributing volunteers for vocational training, volunteering yourself
  • Becoming an Alsama Ambassador: Formal champion of Alsama: represent us in your communities, help us establish partnerships, help us secure funding, and (if desired) get involved yourself as a mentor or expert advisor – we will shape this role together with you!

Sing, dance, practice yoga, do everything you can to keep the smile on your face. Don’t give up on life, love it!

Maram, 14

Legal

Alsama Project UK

Alsama Project is registered in the United Kingdom as a not-for-profit company registration No 12433605. It is also registered as a charity, charity registration No 1191810.

Alsama Project Lebanon

In Lebanon, Alsama Project is registered as an non-governmental, charitable organisation  with the Ministry of Interior, registration no: 372/2021.

Alsama Project USA

In the US, Alsama Project is registered as a 501(c)3 organisation, registration no: 87-1842640.

 

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