Jacqueline Flory: Helping Refugees On Site in Lebanon

Peace Award Winner 2021: Grassroots Peace Worker

"We do not see the solution in uprooting people from their region and culture, and then forcing them to begin a new life far away from their own home. On the contrary. For years we have made it possible for refugees to wait for the end of the war in their own region as safely as possible and with the provisions they need." This is Jacqueline Flory's conviction.

Jacqueline Flory is a translator, author and single parent from Munich. People who know her describe her as a "doer". She is actively engaged, for example, in the parents´ council at her children´s primary school.

In 2015, thousands of people fled to Germany, particularly from Syria. Her son, who was 6-years old at the time, was the one who finally prompted her to do something for the refugees who stayed in their country. "It's such a shame we can´t do anything", he said, and his words motivated Jacqueline Flory to prove the opposite to him and everyone else.

In the same year, she started an initiative to support people in their home countries or in the countries to which they had fled. She helped refugees both in the neighbouring country of Lebanon and in her home country, Syria. In doing so, she was able to save them from risking the life-threatening journey of escape to the supposedly-safe haven of Europe.

This initiative gave rise to "Zeltschule - Tent School". Since 2016, new schools have been continually built for refugee children. The initiative emphasises the importance of teaching according to the Syrian system, which means that both girls and boys are allowed to attend school and that pupils receive an approved certificate at the end of each school year.

Meanwhile, the association "Zeltschule" supports 30 schools and more than 7000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years in Lebanon and Syria. In addition, more than 25,000 people are provided with the essentials for everyday life. This is the precondition for children to be able to attend school at all since Syrian adults in Lebanon are not allowed to earn money. For this reason, many families send their children to work on the fields because child labour is not punished.

Soup kitchens and bakeries are set up in the camps, giving refugees the opportunity to do their part in providing for the community as cooks or bakers. Meanwhile, opportunities have also been created for adult education to provide adults with a perspective for when they later return to their home countries. Examples include literacy courses and workshops for handicrafts. The products made there are then sold through an association in Germany.

Today, "Zeltschule" counts three salaried employees. Jaqueline Flory's commitment increasingly attracts attention as the peace activist gives interviews and presentations where she encourages others to follow her example by helping comprehensively and sustainably.


Germany | Lebanon

Proposed by:
Kathrin Kronberg

Social Justice / Human Rights


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