Lebanon (MNN) – The war in Syria has left a generation of kids struggling to obtain a proper education. In Lebanon, fewer than half of the Syrian refugee children are attending a formal school. However, ministries like Heart for Lebanon have stepped in to offer informal education. The problem? They cannot help everyone.
Heart for Lebanon’s school in the Bekaa Valley currently serves about 100 students. Heart for Lebanon hopes to increase this number to 250 kids over the next two years. But for every child at their school, there are many more who are receiving no education.
“We thank God that a lot of families want to send their kids to our school because this school has a good reputation. They know that their kids will be in a safe place, safe environment. Many people are waiting for this opportunity when we open the door for their kids,” Heart for Lebanon’s Bekaa Ministry Coordinator Bashir says.
“Every day we get phone calls from the families when they see us in the camps. They ask us. ‘we want to send our kids to your school, so can we send them? Can we, just one boy or one girl at your school?’ And the hardest thing for us is to say no.”
Heart for Lebanon’s Education Program
Right now, Heart for Lebanon focuses on educating orphans and kids with special cases, such as divorced or separated parents. The ministry does have some kids who have both parents with them, but their situations are still not easy.
Bashir explains how life is very difficult for Syrian families living in the Bekaa. Sometimes, neither parent can work. When a father does work, he is often working in fields for barely $4 a day. Furthermore, some people have promised to help these families and then never followed through.
That is not Heart for Lebanon’s reputation, though. These people know Heart for Lebanon, what the ministry does, and that it is a Christian organization—they still seek interactions with them.
“We talk about Jesus Christ in our work and in our ministry. We don’t hesitate to share from the Bible with any family. When God opens the door for us, we share. We speak, we talk, we pray, we share verses, we evangelize, but we wait when God opens this door for us,” Bashir says.
Relationships are a major part of Heart for Lebanon’s ministry, especially in the Bekaa Valley. The relationships Heart for Lebanon has built with Syrian refugees has opened doors to share the Bible, start Bibles studies, and hold weekly church services.
“We have a school in Beirut now and we have a school in the south of Lebanon as well. They have students like the Bekaa as well. So, we’re working in three different areas and we thank God that we have a great opportunity with many refugees in the three different areas,” Bashir says.
Heart for Lebanon also provides relief work, spiritual work, and community development alongside its informal education program. In the ministry’s strategic plan, Bashir says Heart for Lebanon eventually hopes to add a vocational program, too. Once students graduate from the informal education program, the vocational program would be the next step. It would teach trade skills like carpentry, electrical work, sewing skills, computer skills, and more.
“This will open the door for them to work in different places. After they graduate from this program…they will have opportunities to work. They will find places to work in. They will start to earn money and this is a community development program. It’s an educational program, and it will be [a] community development program later,” Bashir says.
A lot of the families Heart for Lebanon serves are excited about this future program. Plus, at the new Hope Ministry Center, Heart for Lebanon has plans for music school, English school, and more.
Will You Help?
But, until these programs are brought into reality, will you walk alongside Heart for Lebanon’s work?
Bashir says the first priority in doing this is through prayer. Pray for protection of Heart for Lebanon’s work and staff. Ask God to bless their ministry and to glorify himself through it. Pray for the Syrian refugees Heart for Lebanon serves, for their healing, their growth, and for Christ to enter their lives.
Another way to tangibly help is through giving. Heart for Lebanon can do the work it does without the proper resources. Find how you can give here!
Header photo courtesy of Heart for Lebanon.