Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
SYRIAN refugees in Egypt are facing barriers to education and being exploited by property landlords, reports children’s charity Plan International.
Up to 350,000 Syrians are living in Egypt, half of them are children. But only around 126,000 refugees have been registered by the UNHCR.
Plan conducted an assessment in the city of Alexandria, finding that many families were struggling to meet their basic needs.
Children were finding it difficult to go to school, facing long journeys and having problems enrolling.
“Registering in schools for many was a complicated and expensive process that often did not guarantee a place,” says Plan’s Acting Country Director in Egypt, Virginia Saiz.
“Many believed deliberate barriers were put in their way. Overcrowding is also a major issue, and many parents cannot afford stationery, books and uniforms,” she adds.
Some families were being exploited by landlords who charged them twice as much as Egyptians.
“In some cases two or three families of between 12 and 17 people are sharing two bedroom apartments,” says Ms Saiz.
Plan is currently developing a project to help the Syrian refugees in Alexandria. It will focus on education, child protection and provision of community services.
There are no Syrian camps in Egypt. Most refugees are living in urban areas, alongside the Egyptian population.
“All refugees live in communities with Egyptians, so any projects implemented through Plan will address the needs of host communities and will aim to build co-existence,” adds Ms Saiz.
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org