When the coronavirus started spreading globally, Tent Schools International was ready, proactively preparing their students for what was coming.
“When the virus first started spreading around the globe,” Emily Klooster says, “teachers held lessons on good hygiene like covering coughs, washing hands and wiping down surfaces.”
And Klooster says these students needed the training, as refugee populations are very vulnerable to the coronavirus. “The close quarters and lack of certain basics in the camps present a definite challenge if COVID-19 reaches them. One example is a refugee center on the island of Lesbos in Greece, which has the capacity for 2,800 people. But it now hosts more than 19,000 children, women, and men. It’s nearly impossible for anyone living in this situation to follow health guidelines, as you can imagine, and protect themselves from a virus.”
In fact, UNICEF is calling for all vulnerable refugees to be brought to the Greek mainland. Klooster says, “Some European member states have committed to relocate refugee children from the Greek islands once borders reopen.”
Meanwhile, Tent School’s partner in Lebanon says they have had no cases yet; so far, they’ve been protected by the camp’s rural setting. Klooster says, “That’s a benefit these camps are experiencing right now. But if the virus becomes as widespread as it has in other areas of the world, it will likely touch the lives of almost everyone in the camps.”
Help for uncertainty
But their students don’t just need preparation for the disease itself. Klooster says, “Uncertainty is something displaced students and their families have already faced as they lost their homes and schools during war.”
She encourages Christians to pray that these students will be able to learn well from home, and that, “fear will not become a driving force in their lives again. Pray for God’s peace for them.” See the PrayerCast coronavirus video here.
And Tent Schools isn’t leaving the kids alone during this time. They continue to teach remotely, visiting the children to pick up their homework weekly. They have been delivering food to the families as well. Their mission is letting the families know they won’t be forgotten. The chaos won’t destroy the progress they have made.
To help, donate to Tent Schools International so that they can provide needed resources to the families of their students and continue educating and bringing hope, even in the middle of a pandemic.
A refugee camp in Lebanon, in the Bekaa Valley. (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)