We are pleased to help publicize the work of the British Council in the area of “language for resilience.” The latest report compiled under this theme regards how language can support the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities. The text below is borrowed from the Council’s website, from a post in mid-2016.

“Now in its sixth year, the Syrian conflict has created the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. Over 4.8 million Syrians are refugees in neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands in Europe and 6.6 million people are displaced inside Syria.

The Language for Resilience report examines the impact of language on refugees and host communities affected by the Syrian crisis, identifying the different ways that language skills enhance resilience and providing suggestions for programme responses that address key needs.

The authors carried out desk and field research in Jordan, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey – interviewing teachers, ministry of education officials, children, parents, volunteers and non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff.

This report is offered as a contribution to the understanding of how language learning builds resilience, whether it is giving a voice to young people and adults, building social cohesion in host communities or providing individuals with the skills they need to access work, services, education and information.

The report shows that for children and young people attending schools or post-school education, and for educators in host communities handling influxes of refugee students, quality language learning improves attainment and attendance and builds safer and more inclusive classrooms. It also illustrates how creative approaches to language education can support the development of life skills and help meet psycho-social needs.” Click here to download the report, or a summary of the report, in either English or Arabic.

For individuals looking to get involved in this effort in some way, there are two organisations you may consider contacting. ‘The Hands Up project’ organises EFL teachers to Skype into refugee camps in Palestine and Jordan. For more information, visit https://handsupproject.org/  or write to Nick Bilbrough at info@handsupproject.org. “Heart ELT”  asks teachers to contribute materials to refugee resources and helps to raise money for tent schools. For more information, please visit http://heartelt.org/ or write to Julie Pratten at juliekacmaz@gmail.com.