Middle East (MNN) — A severe winter warning is putting refugee kids physically at-risk. Meanwhile, a widespread freeze on education threatens their futures.
As recorded by Reuters, UN officials are warning that thousands of refugee children on their way to Europe could freeze to death in the next two weeks. The forecast for the eastern Balkan’s, eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan includes freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.
A spokesman for the UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, told reporters, “Many children on the move do not have adequate clothing or access to the right nutrition…. [The risk of freezing to death] is clearly very, very high.”
Jeff Palmer, Executive Director of Baptist Global Response (BGR), says they’re helping refugees on both sides of the Aegean Sea. For $10, you can help refugee kids keep warm with an extra blanket.
In one security-sensitive location, BGR is providing more than warm clothes.
“In this refugee population, we noticed a lot of teachers were there, [and] the kids had not been in school for three to four years,” Palmer shares. “So, we actually worked together with the local community and the local church and local believers there, to start a small school.”
Refugee kids head “back to school”
Throughout the Middle East and in parts of Europe, BGR and their partners are meeting the immediate physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of refugees. While they have educational projects scattered throughout several countries, this one is a first.
“We’re actually able, in this situation, to employ local people to help with the teaching,” explains Palmer.
Refugees formerly employed as teachers within Syria or Iraq are now able to teach at the small school started by BGR and their partners. Over 200 refugee kids, who’ve been on-the-run for the past few years, are finally back in the classroom.
While BGR is underwriting the education program and providing teachers with the resources they need, local believers are providing the facility.
Instead of holding school inside a tent, a local church partnering with BGR is allowing refugee students and their teachers to meet within their walls. Local believers prepare nutritious meals for the refugee kids to have at lunchtime.