Lebanon (MNN) — Imagine you’ve had to leave your home and all your belongings behind to escape a brutally murderous organization that claims to believe in the same god you did. Now you’re living in chaos and poverty, trying to survive in a foreign country and living out of a tent.
Now imagine trying to raise a child amidst all that.
Dale Dieleman of Tent Schools International says that’s the situation many refugee families face in Lebanon and other countries.
“They say, ‘Yes, yes please if you can do anything to help our children kind of get away from the chaos of the day and someplace to go and just be kids, someplace to go and learn and get back on track with their learning, give them a sense of hope that there’s life beyond the camp,” Dieleman shares.
That’s where the tent schools come in. The small, canvas schools provide a way for kids to continue their education and gain important experiences, like computer skills training.
“We’re preparing them with some actual job skills they can take forward, and this is an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Some of the refugees are never able to leave the camps.
“There are people who have been born there, have been raised there, and have died there in those camps. And they’ve never known any other life, so some of these camps are not as temporary as we might imagine them to be.”
With the tent schools comes an opportunity for the children to move on, to become part of the local community outside of the camps.
Dieleman says, “We just want to prepare them to have the best basic foundation as possible for their future.”
And Tent Schools International understands the most crucial part of any personal foundation is faith in Jesus Christ.
“Every day they start their classes with a short devotional time, a song, Bible stories, [and] prayer.”
Even Muslim families send their children to these schools, providing a completely unique opportunity to reach kids and their families with the Gospel. And so far, it’s working. Many refugee families are coming forward and asking for another school in a different area of the camp.
“We also like to be able to ask people to pray about considering to give, particularly to this tent schools project,” says Dieleman. “Any amount, we would really appreciate going towards this goal of getting one more school up by the end of the summer.”
They’ll have to provide teachers, materials, and of course the tents themselves, and Tent Schools International is asking if you will consider a contribution. We’ll connect you right here.
In the mean time, pray for the refugee children trying to adjust to a new way of life.
“We would like people to pray and also to think about a refugee child, and to pray in earnest that those children will find comfort, find rest and find hope in the message of the Gospel these teachers are presenting.”