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.
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 to budget, to properly learn to read and write their mother tongue, Arabic. So we established an education institute and expanded our cricket hubs. We are now teaching and empowering ~600 students across 3 refugee camps – as well as sponsoring our most talented students at partner secondary schools 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. Ghadeer, Misra and Nabila are working as Yoga teachers, and 12 of our best cricketers are doubling as coaches.
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 2026, 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)
- Excellence Fund (sponsorships for top 1-5% exceptionally talented students)
- Vocational training (coding & more)
- Studio (our “sister” social enterprise, providing ethical & creative employment for women)
- Registered in Lebanon (372/2021) & in the UK (1191810), and governed & audited in both.
Looking back: Alsama’s first 18 months – January 2020 to July 2021
- 500 students kept out of child labour, crime, early marriage & teen pregnancy, or abruptly-ended education
- 110 students taken from illiterate to literate (Arabic, English, Mathematics)
- 100% English students advanced 1-2 levels in proficiency (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR))
- £632/$865 average annual cost of educating Alsama students (82% of the global average of US$1,051)
- 17 students have been provided with paid employment opportunities (as Cricket Coaches/ Assistant Coaches, Yoga instructors and Social Workers)
- 9 students left violently abusive home situations after Alsama empowerment
- 25 women provided with financial independence through Alsama Studio
- 1,500 families supported via empowerment & child protection & food
- 100 families supported after the Beirut port explosion
- Legal entities and bank accounts established in Lebanon and the UK
Looking ahead: Alsama’s overall aspiration – 2021 to 2026
- 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
- Develop leadership throughcricket for 1,800 children with aspirations to form a national refugee team capable of beating international sides
- Provide students with vocational training for ~400 students to open employment opportunities in areas of high demand (eg.IT, electrical repairs & maintenance)
- Enable our most exceptionally talented students to pursue further education through scholarships at premier partner schools, starting with secondary schools (and ultimately, university)
- 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
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