MyBestStart programme gives young girls the education they deserve

Sham and sister Fatima with some of the MyBestStart learning materials

Early childhood development, Girls' education

Sisters Sham and Fatima love to learn. But, like millions of other girls, they have never been in a classroom. 

Many young girls miss out on pre-primary learning because of poverty, conflict or natural disasters. In Lebanon, the effects of the economic crisis and Covid-19 have left 400,000 children without access to school or pre-primary education. 

Theirworld’s MyBestStart programme helped to change that – providing refugee and vulnerable children in Lebanon with quality early years education. They studied using the Tabshoura platform, which combines interactive video lessons, online instruction and physical learning materials. 

“Tabshoura is very nice,” said six-year-old Sham. “It teaches me how to write letters.” 

Even before the pandemic, 132 million girls were out of school – 34 million of them at primary age. To mark International Day of the Girl, Theirworld has produced a film about Sham and Fatima and the MyBest Start programme. Watch it here. 

MyBestStart directly reached 3,000 children, teachers and parents – with another 2,000 benefitting indirectly – through its combination of online and offline resources. It was a partnership with Theirworld, Alfanar, Ana Aqra and Lebanese Alternative Learning.

Amina al-Aaoun, mother of Sham and four-year-old Fatima, moved to Lebanon because of the war in Syria. She said: “Sham has learned how to write her name in Arabic and English. Fatima would be sitting [next to Sham] on her phone and would hear her studying and she began learning and memorising too.  

200,000 girls

Supported by Theirworld projects this year

I hope my girls are able to continue their education because I was deprived of mine due to the war in Syria. I hope they can study to the highest possible level.” 

Early childhood education is crucial to all children – but especially for child refugees, many of whom have suffered significant trauma. 

The MyBestStart project in Lebanon is made possible thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Theirworld runs other projects that benefit girls – including in several sub-Saharan African countries, where we teach girls the digital skills they need to find work and earn a living, helping them to break the cycle of poverty. 

Benefits of girls’ education 

  • With just one additional year of schooling, a woman’s earnings can increase by 12%. 
  • A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five, twice as likely to attend school and 50% more likely to be immunised. 

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