International (MNN) — Tent Schools International is all about education, and since schools continue to update to fit the latest technology, it makes sense for Tent Schools to do the same thing.
That’s the thought behind the laptop distribution program. “A lot of refugee families come here and their children get put into the school systems, but they don’t have any access to any type of technology in their homes,” says Dale Dieleman of Tent Schools. Since most agencies don’t have the funding to provide computers, their organization is moving in to help.
It used to be all about sending teachers and building classrooms, but “in that system, children still needed to go to a physical place,” Dieleman says. “Now, with interfacing with computers, the education is coming to the student.” The students will work with teachers and guidance counselors, but now they can do it from anywhere in the world.
Laptops have already been sent to Tanzania and Lebanon, and the next shipment is heading to Jordan, but Nepal is Tent Schools International’s most urgent project. Partners on the ground are distributing the computers to young girls so they can get new job skills that will keep them out of human trafficking. It will also provide them long-term stability by giving them access to educational tools that will work to their advantage long into adulthood.
And it’s not just about schoolwork. “If we get a computer into the home, that means the children can do their school work, parents can look for jobs, and they can communicate with family and friends in other parts of the world.”
But where does the Gospel come in? Even though a laptop may be a piece of hardware, it’s hardware the refugees will need to learn how to use. “There are people who will be helping and assisting with the training and the computer systems and the software, things like that,” Dieleman says.
That means Christian teachers can build relationships of trust with the refugees they’re training, which makes it that much easier to share the truth of the Gospel. In the case of the young Nepalese women, it also means the girls have a constant companion and friend who will meet regularly with them to provide hope, comfort, and safety through the love of Christ. “That’s where we see technology itself really as a door-opener into developing good and lasting relationships with people.”
Interested in providing a laptop? Dieleman says support and prayer are both needed for this project to really leave a mark, and “if you have a need, if you have refugee families here in the United States that your church or your agency is supporting, please visit our website to fill out a form and apply for a laptop.”