Greece (MNN) – The UNHCR recently released a report that says this year, 500,000 more refugee minors are not in school than last year. Altogether, this results in four million school-aged refugee children who are not attending school.
Children’s education has been disrupted by violence in their home nations and it’s been forgotten as they’ve been forced to flee to refugee camps with poor conditions.
A Lack of Education in Camp Moria
In Greece’s Camp Moria, “there are 1,600 children right now who are there and are school-aged. Of those 1,600, only 400 are having any kind of touchpoint with an educational program,” TeachBeyond’s Liz Steggall-Lewis says.
That’s only a quarter of the children who are receiving an education.
“There is just a desperate need for these children to receive an education, an education that is ground and builds character, and really teaches things like love and forgiveness.”
These children have been traumatized by witnessing violence both in their home countries and in the refugee camps.
Specifically, Camp Moria has reached a ‘boiling point’. Violent riots break out on a daily basis in the cramped camp and there have been sexual assaults. Children are witnessing all of these actions and only knowing hate and strife.
The need for an education based on love is growing.
Conditions in Camp Moria have grown unsafe, however, TeachBeyond is compelled by Christ’s love to be there and to be an influence in children’s lives.
Serving the ‘Least of These’ through Education
“There is such an opportunity. Yes, there’s an opportunity for radicalization, but there’s also an opportunity to come into the living presence of the most radical God who would send His son to Earth to die for us,” Steggall-Lewis says.
“Christ asks us to serve the least of these. He asks us to feed, and to clothe, to bring water, to visit the prisoner, and He says when we do that, we serve Him. And so, I think with education, we see that as an extension.”
TeachBeyond wants to meet the desperate need for an education by starting a school near Camp Moria. But first, they need funds to rent a building and dedicated volunteers who will teach.
Steggall-Lewis shares TeachBeyond has located a nearby building that is within walking distance of the camp.
“We really believe that we need to bring kids and adults out of the camp in order to even be able to provide any kind of education because a safe space is so important.”
This building would be key for starting the school and also for opening doors to a unique curriculum.
“If we can rent this space, we’ll be able to actually implement a curriculum in partnership with an organization called Open Schools Worldwide. The curriculum brings children to grade three standards in literacy and numeracy in a very short amount of time.”
The curriculum has been used effectively with over 50,000 learners throughout Africa. These learners have been children who have had large gaps in their education and experienced intense trauma. Now, this curriculum can be replicated in Greece to impact refugee children.
Steggall-Lewis shares part of the curriculum is to train refugee adults to work with the children.
“We then have access to two groups of people that we can speak into their lives and provide [an] education for.”
TeachBeyond is actively fundraising to rent this building. Further, they’re searching for dedicated volunteers who would be committed to serving on Lesvos long-term.
TeachBeyond will be setting up a two-team rotating model for serving.
For American volunteers, they would serve for 90 days at the school on Lesvos, go to a second placement site for 90 days, then return to Lesvos for a following 90 days to continue teaching. European volunteers, however, will not be constricted by visa restrictions.
Steggall-Lewis says returning is imperative in showing how much volunteers love and are committed to caring for these refugees.
Join TeachBeyond in praying for staff members who are committed to serving. Pray for the refugees, specifically the children who are missing an education, and pray for the provision of funds to rent the building.