Educating the world’s most inspiring children
Syrian and Iraqi refugee children don’t want to give up on their futures. BMS World Mission is helping them to access a good education
You’re nine years old and you have never entered a classroom. You’ve never sat and listened to a teacher. Never read a book. Never even learnt how to hold a pencil.
Over the last five years, your home has been destroyed, you’ve seen family members killed, you’ve fled your country, you’ve left all your friends, and you’ve learnt to live in a shipping container. You’re not living the life of a child anymore. You haven’t been for a long time.
This is the life hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq are living in Lebanon. It’s not the life that any of us would want for them. That’s why BMS is doing something about it.
We’re helping children like Wissam. He was 13 years old and had been out of school for five years when he first came to the BMS-supported Learning Support Project (LSP) – an education project to help children learn Arabic, French, English and Maths. Most of the children who attend are, like Wissam, refugees.
Wissam’s family are from Syria and live and work in a Beirut building close to the church where LSP is run every school afternoon. Every day, Wissam would look out of his window at the children going to the church wearing backpacks and long to join them.
So he asked his dad to knock on the door and see if he could go too. Wissam’s dad was nervous. As a Muslim he wasn’t sure he would be welcome at the church. But he wanted his son to get an education, so he knocked. And the door was opened to him.
Wissam’s dad was welcomed in a way he never expected and Wissam joined LSP last October. Although he knew the Arabic alphabet, he was unable to form words or sentences and basic subtraction seemed impossible to him. But he was hungry to learn. He’d stay in the classroom during breaks to do extra work. And by June, Wissam had improved a school grade in every subject taught at LSP – and a huge five grades in French! His self-esteem has grown too. He now has dreams for the future, dreams of going to college and learning skills to become a carpenter or a plumber.
His whole family has felt the benefit. Wissam’s brothers and sisters have joined LSP, getting the opportunity to learn too. And his dad speaks highly of the project, inviting others to join and walking into the church with confidence.
Without BMS support, LSP might have closed last year due to a lack of funding, and Wissam might never have walked through the doors of the church that’s giving him hope for the future. By giving £15,000 to the project, BMS helped LSP through a difficult time, enabling it to thrive and continue to help extremely vulnerable children. That £15,000 came from Christians like you, who want to see lives transformed. It’s bringing a harvest of hope.
This September, LSP started a second shift of classes, having doubled in size. It is now providing educational support for 56 struggling children from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Some of these children have places in school but are so far behind they’re in danger of dropping out. Others, like Wissam, have no school to go to.
BMS mission worker Louise Brown is the Project Director of LSP and is inspired by the children who come to the project. “Seeing the difference it makes keeps me here,” says Louise. “These young people are amazing, and I have huge respect for them. The way they keep their joy, it’s just awesome. I have been changed so much by them.”
Your support of BMS has been integral to LSP being where it is today. “Without the BMS funding we could have closed,” says Louise. “It was very timely. It took us from a very, very weak place to a very strong place, where we are today.”
Thank you for helping children like Wissam.
Do you want to join BMS in helping to educate some of the world’s most vulnerable children? You can support work like Louise’s by giving to the BMS Syria’s Forgotten Families appeal today.
Have you seen the Syria’s Forgotten Families film? Click here to meet Louise and Reem, one of the Syrian children learning at LSP.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.