Lebanon (MNN) — The odds for education are stacked against Syrian refugee children, and girls in particular.
Lebanon is host to roughly 1.5 million Syrian refugees. When COVID-19 shut down schools, many refugee children didn’t have internet access. So remote learning wasn’t an option.
Then, with Lebanon’s economic collapse, many Syrian parents kept their sons out of school to work.
“But for girls, it’s premature marriage” that pulls them out of school, according to Nuna* with Triumphant Mercy Lebanon.
“The father wants to have his daughter settled somewhere so they find a cousin, they find somebody that is related to them that can marry the girl and then she can still be in the family and, at the same time, be married.”
One-fifth of Syrian teenage girls in Lebanon today are in child marriages.
Along with environment factors, cultural and religious expectations also play a significant role in the Syrian Muslim community, leading to teen girls getting married young.
Triumphant Mercy Lebanon provides education to Syrian refugee kids. Nuna shares one story of a Syrian teen girl who was recently getting ready to sit for exams.
“Her father said, ‘No, I don’t want her to go present her exams. I want her to get married and be planning for her marriage.’ We tried everything. We went and we visited and we sent teachers. We tried to talk sense into them. ‘At least let her go present her exams and come back, and then she can get married.’ But no.”
Without a full education, these girls are not prepared to provide for themselves or their children if their husband dies or abandons them. It also impacts literacy rates and their ability to engage in society or read the Bible for themselves.
Pray for Syrian girls to know their value in God’s eyes and have relationships with Jesus Christ. Ask the Lord to help refugee parents value education for their children and keep them in school.
Nuna says, “If they come to Jesus, if they get to know Jesus, He mends their hearts and He shows them the value of each person.”
Header photo courtesy of Triumphant Mercy Lebanon.
*Full name withheld for security.