Al-Menber School – Touching the lives of Syrian refugee children in Jordan

As many as 226,000 out of 660,000 (almost a third) of Syrians refugees registered with the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan are school-aged children between 5-17 years old. Since the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, the influx of Syrian refugee children in Jordan has spurred the Education Ministry to take several steps to accommodate their educational needs. From hiring new teachers, allowing free public-school enrollment for Syrian children, and having second shifts at nearly 100 primary schools to create more classroom spaces, the ministry aims to create 50,000 new spaces in public schools for Syrian children, and to reach 25,000 out-of-school children with accredited “catch-up classes.”

Despite all the commendable efforts by the government, Syrian refugee children in Jordan continue to face an uncertain future in education – affecting their subsequent employability as young adults. Over one in three, more than 80,000, did not receive a formal education in 2015. This makes it imperative for private schools to tide over this ever-widening gap in public schooling with quality education that is still affordable for the masses.

Al-Menber is one such school, run by a dedicated entrepreneur from the governorate of Mafraq in North Badia. Mrs Mady worked as a teacher and principal for over 32 years in different governorates in Jordan before starting the private elementary school in the governorate of Mafraq in North Badia in 2010. Al-Menber received the ISO certificate in 2015 due to the high quality of education provided to the students.

Of these, over 70% students hail from the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP), given the impoverished neighbourhood of Sabha that the school is situated in. A town that has witnessed one of the highest rates of refugee influx, the governorate of Mafraq is reeling under the pressure of accommodating immigrants while providing essential services such as education to its citizens and refugees alike.

No wonder then, by early 2016, student enrolments at Al-Menber exceeded 200 and many more were wait-listed due to lack of capacity in the existing premises. Hence, Mrs Mady wished to invest in a new school building that would allow for accepting twice the number of students that the current school has.

At this stage, Mrs Mady turned to GroFin for finance and support to expand the premises and reach out to more students. Apart from funding the new school building, GroFin also provided finance to purchase two buses for transportation as well as extended working capital for salary payments.

In addition, GroFin provided business support on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) front by ensuring that health and safety procedures are followed in accordance with our ESG framework. Besides, GroFin is also helping to formalise the business from a sole proprietorship to a company.

Finally, GroFin’s intervention is ensuring safe transportation for students, by funding modern buses that comply with school transport regulations and safety measures.

Apart from reaching out to 220 students, of whom 175 are BoP, the school also has far-reaching implications on employment, with focus on the vulnerable sections of society. Altogether, Al-Menber employs 27 people, 82% of whom are women.

“With GroFin’s finance and support, we have been able to touch the lives of many more children, especially from the refugee population. This makes a world of difference to such children, who otherwise face bleak educational prospects,” says Mrs Mady.