Middle East (MNN) — Refugee kids in the Middle East have seen and experienced things no one should, much less children.
Lack of access to education makes things worse. According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than half of refugee children missed school last year. When humanitarian organizations ask refugee parents about their biggest needs, they consistently say they need schools for their children.
Rawan Haddad with Tent Schools International says, “Without an option for education, these children and families are left to sit at home, broken and discouraged, becoming more deeply entrenched in the suffering brought on by ISIS. As refugee children have come to Lebanon or Jordan with several different emotional, spiritual, and physical traumas, they are in danger of growing deeper in them.”
Tent Schools International is meeting both of these needs by providing and promoting “schools that heal.” But what does that mean?
Haddad explains, “‘Schools that heal’ means creating healthy spiritual atmospheres that are emotionally healing next to education…. It’s healing for the pain, confusion, and the loss of family and friends; healing for the sense of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide among young people struggling to understand what happened to them; healing from never trusting anyone to open up.”
It’s no surprise many kids in refugee camps have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This makes it difficult for them to trust others — whether they are strangers or authority figures — which makes life in the classroom very difficult.
Tent Schools International educators can’t diagnose or treat PTSD in their students. However, they are taught to look for signs of PTSD in their classrooms and know how to work with students who may be struggling.
With the support of compassionate teachers who love them in Jesus’s name, refugee kids are finding healing.
“One day, we are hoping that our students will leave the school with these values — confidence, self-control, the ability to communicate with each other,…and the ability to recognize a problem and come up with solutions…. And we are hoping our students will know they are loved and valued by God.”
As these students grow and potentially return to their home countries one day, Haddad says, “We want them to be confident they are returning with seeds of hope to plant a better future for their country — a hope that comes from the education they received in the camps and through experiencing the love of Jesus through those who are His hands and feet.”
Right now, Tent Schools International teams are also meeting refugees’ needs in the dead of winter.
“Tent Schools International needs help to extend God’s love to children and families who need it by helping them with heating…and a simple warm meal to keep them healthy and happy.”
There are many ways you can support this critical ministry through schools that heal with Tent Schools International. You can donate monthly by joining their Circle of Friends, or check out other ways to give!
Meanwhile, something everyone can do is pray.
Please ask the Lord to protect refugees facing frigid winter conditions in the camps. Pray for Tent School educators to be spiritually encouraged in their ministry and for refugee kids to find healing, hope, and love in their Heavenly Father.
Header photo courtesy of Tent Schools International.