Refugee students find hope through “Schools That Heal”

By February 6, 2020

International (MNN) — Today’s story begins in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. In biblical times, a valley with a similar name meant “sorrow” or “tears” as pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem. Bekaa Valley today takes on the meaning of loss as it hosts over a million Syrian refugees. Over 400,000 of them are children who have had their education and futures snatched away.

According to the latest UN report, worldwide, 1.4 million refugees were in urgent need of resettlement last year. More than half of the world’s refugees are children, and 52 percent of them lack access to education.

Rawan Hadad says Tent Schools International began its Schools That Heal program to meet these pressing needs. The term “‘Schools That Heal’ means creating a healthy spiritual atmosphere that [is] emotionally healing, next to education,” Hadad explains.

Tents become schools, laptops become windows to learning, and teachers become the hands and feet of Christ as they reach these traumatized kids.

“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.”

Hope blooms within canvas walls

As explained here, Tent Schools comes alongside Christian leaders in refugee camps and other transitional areas to establish an educational opportunity for children fleeing war, persecution and natural disaster.

According to this 2019 report, the Middle East and North Africa hold 23 percent of the world’s refugees and displaced people.  Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey host nearly six million Syrian refugees.

Tilma was among the children who fled Iraq with her family. She found safety and hope at Tent School’s partnering facility in Jordan.
(Photo courtesy Tent Schools International)

“Refugee children have come to Lebanon or Jordan with several different emotional, spiritual and physical traumas. Without an option for education, these children and families are left to sit at home, broken and discouraged,” Hadad says.

“We want to create a safe environment where they can grow, learn, find friends, and gain confidence.”

Most importantly, “we are hoping our students will know they are loved and valued by God,” she adds.

If refugees ever get a chance to return home, “we want them to be confident they are returning with seeds of hope to plant a better future for the country,” Hadad says. “That comes from the education they received in the camps and through experiencing the love of Jesus.”

How to help

In this 2019 blog post, Hadad explains why winter is an especially difficult season for refugees. The shipping containers and tents that many call homes contain no insulation and a meager fire is often the only heat source.

“As you know, it’s winter now, and Tent Schools International [needs] help to extend God’s love to children and families… by helping them with heating inside the shipping container, and a simple warm meal to keep them healthy and happy,” Hadad tells MNN.

You can help by donating to Tent Schools International.  Most importantly, pray.

Pray refugee families will encounter the Gospel message and become believers. Pray wisdom, discernment, and strength for Tent Schools’ in-country staff.  Ask the Lord for mercy and an end to the global refugee crisis.



Header image courtesy of Tent Schools International via Facebook.

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