Middle East (MNN) — Government schools in Lebanon have added a second shift to the school day so more refugee children can attend.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports 350 schools in Lebanon are incorporating this system, which is providing education for around 150,000 Syrian refugee children.
The UNHCR says there are around 490,000 school-aged refugee children in Lebanon, but less than half – 220,000 – are receiving an education.
“We know that the UN works with governments to help refugee kids continue their education, but the ever-increasing need overwhelms existing schools. More than half of school-aged refugee kids still need a place for learning. That’s why Tent Schools International is committed to address this need,” Tent Schools International’s Rawan Haddad says.
Haddad says many of these children are not attending school because it’s too far for them to walk from where they are staying. Children may be staying in refugee camps, villages, or other areas not close to cities or schools.
Weather further impacts their commute.
“I saw first-hand kids during Lebanon winters and how hard it was to walk miles to school from their tents,” Haddad says.
Distance and weather have been barriers to kids’ education, but Tent Schools is ensuring they no longer stand in the way.
The ministry is providing education in temporary facilities closer to where children and their families are staying.
“We can’t build permanent schools in refugee locations, but we can provide our Christian partners with resources for tent schools, especially in villages or areas far from existing government schools,” Haddad says.
Tent Schools is providing an education with print and technological resources, such as books and laptops, to help children build their education and set themselves up for a bright future.
Their greatest mission, however, is that schools will be healthy, spiritual atmospheres that are emotionally healing.
They work with local partners and teachers who have a similar vision to encourage, value, and love children.
In doing so, they hope children will see the goodness and love of Jesus.
Seeds of Hope Planted
“God has provided us a window of opportunity to reach children from Syria, Iraq, and other places while they are in refugee camps. When they are one day sent back to their own countries, especially Syria, they will find a destroyed infrastructure, including what once was a highly regarded educational system,” Haddad says.
“When that does happen, we want to be confident they are returning with seeds of hope to plant a better future for their country, a hope that springs from the education they received within the camps, and through coming to know Jesus who cares so deeply for them.”
It is an answer to prayer as some Syrians and other refugees return to their home country. But they continue to need our prayers.
Pray for the hope of Jesus to take root in these children and that it will spread to others. Pray the education Tent Schools provides will give a future even as children return to their country and help them to restore their nations. And, pray for Tent Schools as they engage refugee children.
Help provide accessible education through Tent Schools International.Your gift will help in giving an education to the hundreds of thousands of refugee children not in school.