Safeguarding Syrian future

By October 14, 2014
(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

Lebanon (MNN) — Nearly three million Syrian children are not attending school due to the civil war raging in their homeland.

The future of the nation is at stake. Jed Hamoud, Vice President of Operations at Kids Alive International, notes that this crisis has been 10 years in the making. “The fear is that the Syrian people are going to be faced with a generation of kids that are not educated. That would have a massive impact on the society as a whole.”

Hamoud continues, “Many of those kids have been out of school for a year or two. They have missed a lot of schooling, so what we’re really calling it is a literacy/education program.”

Think of the doctors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, educators, scientists, writers in a single generation. In other words, “When the current generation passes and the new generation is coming in, they’re going to have a tremendous shortage of educated people.”

Yet, hundreds of thousands of displaced children are struggling to enroll for school in their host countries and in Syria. In Syria, many of the school buildings are filled with Internally Displaced Peoples or the military. For others, high school fees and working to survive are the main reasons kids aren’t in school.

In Lebanon, it’s all of the above for the Syrian refugees. In fact, as Lebanon has no official refugee camps, Syrian families regularly go into debt to cover costs like housing, healthcare, and education. Plus, the education system is simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of child refugees.

According to a recent Save The Children report, 4 out of 5 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon don’t attend school. Although there is a plan to teach Syrian refugee children in an informal educational setting in Lebanon, the strategy is still in the works. But most kids can’t afford to wait, says Hamoud.

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

Kids Alive Lebanon looked at the available space they had and converted a workshop into classroom space. “The goal is to try to help those children come up to speed, so that we can streamline them and transition them with the standard school curriculum,” Hamoud explains, adding, “We’re expanding it to the maximum of the facility that we have today, and we will be having about 60 children that we’ll be taking in to schooling.”

One of three new classrooms will provide a safe environment for these refugee children to get what they can’t get at a normal “school,” says Hamoud. “We do provide education. We actually will be providing meals to the children. We’re providing transportation, but at the heart of it, we will be teaching the kids the Scriptures, the value that Christ has bought us. So it is at the very core of our ministry here in Lebanon.”

The children’s desks will arrive next week, and the new “Syrian Oasis” will open its doors on November 3. There’s still a lot to do. “We’ve hired one teacher. We need to hire at least two more teachers to help out. And we need to buy the supplies. We have some desks, but we are going to need a lot more because we weren’t counting on taking in that many children.”

Please pray that God would do amazing things in the lives of the needy kids Kids Alive will be serving.

3 Comments

  • Gail says:

    I am praying for you. Wonder how I could help?

  • mary Huffker says:

    What you are doing is wonderful for a very limited number of children. You mention no organized refugee camps and transportation to your school; does this mean that the refugees are widely scattered? And are most of the refugees idle or what are they doing? If they are idle and discouraged, I think it would help moral if they would get together and teach these children. While it is difficult to teach reading without books, it should be quite simple to teach math. Aren’t there spaces of bare ground and sticks available, where math problems could be scratched into ground as long as weather permits? If teachers are idle they could do it and show other educated people how to do it. Kids like to listen to stories, so other teachers could “lecture” in a story telling manner, and other educated people could tell of their occupations. Even without pay, if they are idle these things would help both adults and children.

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