The GHATA project was first developed to address the urgent need for safe, temporary shelter for Syrian refugees living in Informal Tented Settlements (ITSs) or other living conditions throughout Lebanon. GHATA structures are designed as cost-effective units, built from locally available materials, simple to assemble, disassemble and transport, and capable of withstanding difficult weather conditions. The units are also environmentally friendly, thus reducing the negative impacts on the natural environment.
In August 2013, AUB volunteers assembled the first GHATA prototype in the Sarafand settlement during the Civil Engineering Society summer camp. The achieved results were very promising, accordingly, CCECS assembled the second unit on AUB campus for further testing and showcasing. Following a visit by the Minister of Social Affairs, a decree for using the GHATA for educational purposes was granted on March 15, 2014.
In May 2014, CCECS partnered with Kayany Foundation and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) to implement the project ‘’GHATA: Bringing Education to Informal Tented Settlements.’’ The initiative aims to provide schooling for refugee children by constructing portable classrooms within their tented settlements and training qualified teams from the targeted communities to lead the educational process. Since its inception, over 62 GHATA units have been installed in numerous ITSs to serve as community schools. GHATA schools are serving over 2,500 students with plans for future expansion.