Restoring Hope for Syrian Refugees: Social Support Students Need to Excel at School

Author's Department

Graduate School of Education

Second Author's Department

Graduate School of Education

Third Author's Department

Graduate School of Education

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Ibrahim M. Karkouti; Thomas De Vere Wolsey; Mustafa Toprak

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International Migration

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This qualitative, phenomenological case study was designed to elicit Syrian refugee students’ perceptions regarding the individuals who provide them with the social support needed for academic success. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 male Syrian eighth graders at a public middle school in Lebanon. House's social support framework guided this study and served as the theoretical lens through which data were collected and analysed. Findings from this study revealed teachers, supervisors, and administrators as expected major providers of the social supports that Syrian refugee students need to excel in their studies. However, when students do not find support where they might expect it to be, they adopt coping strategies such as independence, perseverance, self-efficacy, and peer-teaching. These findings are of primary importance to school administrators, humanitarian aid agencies, and policymakers. The article concludes with recommendations for practice and future research.

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