Lebanon (MNN) – For children who have experienced violence and lost everything, finding a sense of stability and consistency is vital. And though many organizations and ministries have tried to provide that over the years, lack of funding and resources often stops them short.
That’s been a challenge for Tent Schools International, an organization that helps provide educational opportunities for children in refugee camps throughout Lebanon.
“One of the challenges for the teachers that we work with is that they are Christians working in the refugee camps, and they see this as a mission,” Tent Schools’ Dale Dieleman says. “So they are very committed to being there. But they also have families and they need that support financially, as well as through prayer and through some resources and things like that just to keep things going on a daily basis.”
Since civil war broke out in Syria six years ago, over five million people have fled the country, including over two million children. Over one million refugees have ended up in Lebanon.
Tent Schools works with Christian leaders in refugee camps by establishing temporary learning structures and providing basic educational resources. It also is committed to paying the salary of each teacher.
“We’ve committed ourselves, as an organization, to underwrite the salaries of the teachers in that school,” Dieleman says. “There are three of them. They’ve made some sacrifices too in saying, ‘OK, we are going to add a second shift and even a third shift if necessary,’ taught by them…so they can accommodate the more than 100 children that are going to be in that tent throughout the day.
“One of the things that we don’t want to happen, especially in a refugee community, is to start something and not be able to see it through, because what do the refugee families continual face, especially these kids? Promises, and then things fall through,” Dieleman says. “There’s no consistency on a day-to-day basis. We want these schools to be…places of compassion and centers of hope.”
Dieleman says Tent Schools operates on faith that God will provide the necessary funding, much of which comes through the generosity of faithful donors. So far, God has provided, giving children an opportunity to receive an education, as well as discover eternal hope.
“During the day, they have stories of Jesus to introduce them to this person who they believe in and the person of Jesus who they follow, even into the camps to be there as the love of Jesus, to show them that this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus, that we love you kids,” Dieleman says. “We are there for you.”
In dark, ongoing crisis, Tent Schools is a beacon of light giving children hope for a better future. But they can’t do it alone. Dieleman asks that you consider supporting Tent Schools financially. You can learn more by clicking here.