TRIPOLI, Lebanon—Lebanon’s financial crisis is casting a heavy shadow over Syrian refugee students in the country. Scholarships granted to many of them are either suspended or scheduled to stop at the end of the current academic year.
The students’ economic situation is also getting worse, especially for those who have lost their jobs and become unable to pay to complete their studies. At the same time, hate speech against them persists, as many Lebanese consider the refugees a reason for the deterioration of the country’s economy.
“This year seems disastrous for us and all students,” said Mustapha Jazar, director of the Lebanese Association for Scientific Research (LASeR), a nongovernmental organization that has been granting scholarships to Syrian refugee students since 2013.
Since October, Lebanon has witnessed large-scale popular protests against poor living conditions amid the worsening economic crisis. The country announced this week that for the first time ever it would default on a scheduled debt payment. Hundreds of businesses have closed, and thousands of workers have been laid off, especially in businesses such as restaurants that were willing to ignore legalities to hire young Syrians. Lebanese and other workers who have a hope of leaving the country are lining up at foreign embassies to try to get out. But Syrians have no hope of winning visas.