Middle East (MNN) – Four million refugee children are not receiving an education according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The UNHCR reported that only 61 percent of refugee children attend primary school. Those numbers dramatically decrease when it comes to secondary school; only 23 percent of refugee children attend..
That’s especially a shame because UNHCR workers report that education can help refugee children heal and find normalcy in their daily lives.
In other words, education is vital for the emotional and spiritual healing and growth of refugee minors.
Bridging the Gap
SAT-7, a satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is helping bridge the gap of education for millions of refugee children through their My School program.
“SAT-7 responded to the need of addressing educational issues for children and young people because this generation of children is suffering from effects of conflicts and a lot of social inequalities,” SAT-7’s Juliana Sfeir says.
“There’s a lot of people like in the societies looking at them in a very denigrating way, lack of education, poverty, lack of jobs, and things like that… For everyone if they don’t get to go to school, they don’t feel equal. They feel rejected. They don’t feel part of society.”
SAT-7 founded the My School program in 2015 as a way to compliment the schooling system and give children a Christian-foundation education.
The program has continued to grow ever since.
Today, SAT-7 has produced around 300 episodes that cover different elementary levels of education. Sfeir says the broadcast programs are based on Lebanese and Syrian curriculums.
The programs cover educational topics of Arabic, English, science, and mathematics, but also promote physical well-being and hygiene.
“There’s a lot of also additional therapeutic segments that help displaced children cope with issues like therapeutic storytelling” to help heal their trauma.
Sfeir shares the programs involve engaging activities like songs so children can enjoy the lessons while they learn. However, while lessons are entertaining, they are still highly educational and effective.
Sfeir says children are happy to put their newfound education into practice, whether that’s speaking in a different language or even washing hands before dinner.
While starting the My School program, SAT-7 invited a hundred refugee children to their Kids Center for a year of lessons.
Kids arrived at the center, had breakfast, learned from My School segments, and then returned home.
Sfeir says in that year, the children grew in their education and even changed the way they spoke and interacted with others.
Looking to the future, SAT-7 will continue to produce videos and add programs so children can receive an education that heals and changes no matter where they are.
“We’re hoping to move with a new My School [program] that now we will start designing it,” Sfeir says.
The new program will “move into more things that have to do with self-skills of a person, social rights, conflict resolution, inequality, maybe financial education, and things like that.”
Through these programs, SAT-7 hopes to embolden people as they either return to their native lands or settle down in their host countries.
“This is a stage when development will soon start, and there are talks of developing the land of Syria and helping Syria developing their infrastructure and their business… This is our way of contributing and actually empowering people to go back home if they want.”
Help SAT-7 as they build up and heal children through a Christ-based education. Give to My School so more children can be touched by their programs.