Lebanon: learning to hope again
Fleeing ISIS and having to learn a new language is not stopping refugee children from moving forward thanks to an education project supported by BMS World Mission.
Missing one day of school isn’t too bad. It’s when those days turn into weeks, months and then years, that’s when it becomes life-destroying.
Slowly but surely you are being left behind. Your chances of getting a decent job to lift you and your family out of poverty are receding. Your future is getting bleaker, day by day.
This is what life is like right now for thousands of refugee children in Lebanon who have fled war in Syria and Iraq. While some have managed to get a place in a public school, around 250,000 children have not. These children are often traumatised by the horrors of war they have experienced. With no schooling, their hopes of employment when they grow up are fading. BMS is responding to their dire situation by helping them move forward from the pain of their past and improve their lives.
We are giving these refugee children a place to learn and grow so they can dream once more of a better future. Your giving to BMS is making this happen through the Learning Support Project (LSP) in Beirut. BMS mission worker Louise Brown manages LSP and shares in this short video the story of one child who is working towards his amazing dream, thanks to the education he is now receiving.
At LSP, over 60 children aged six to 14 are learning numeracy, literacy, languages and life-skills. Many of those who attend have missed so much education that going to a formal school is no longer an option. LSP is their last opportunity, and they are seizing it enthusiastically. “There is a hunger and desire to learn,” says Louise.
What is exciting is how, by being given this chance of an education, children are excelling. Rita* fled her village in Syria when ISIS invaded it and she started to attend LSP when she came to Beirut. She has now returned to Syria and her old school. When the school assessed her, she had gone up three grades in one year thanks to what she learnt at LSP.
When Sawsan* arrived at LSP, she was hugely traumatised by the war in Syria. She had forgotten everything she had learned at school, which gave her low self-esteem. Being at LSP had a huge impact on Sawsan. After a year, she could write Arabic poetry, boosting her confidence enormously.
Michael* got a place at an English-speaking school in Beirut when he arrived in Lebanon, but knew no English. Within 18 months of being at LSP, he was a fluent speaker. He is now thriving at his school.
Learning is helping the refugees emotionally too. “Coming to school in itself is incredibly healing for these children,” says Louise. “It gives them structure and it gives them routine.” The children love their teachers and the chance to connect with someone outside of their family. Being able to play at break times is a rare treat as when they are not at LSP they are often working or doing chores at home. “This is their opportunity to be a child,” says Louise.
Your support of BMS is helping us to give refugee children like Rita, Michael and Sawsan healing, purpose and skills. What school they’ve missed in the past isn’t affecting their futures. You are giving them hope once more.