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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. You watch it slip away, but there is nothing you can do about it.

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 20 per cent have not. Their hopes for a decent job when they grow up are fading.

All these children need is a chance to learn so they can dream once more of a better future. That’s what your giving to BMS is providing through the Learning Support Project (LSP) in Beirut. BMS mission worker Louise Brown, who manages LSP, 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.

Learning to hope again from BMS World Mission on Vimeo.

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 school that going to a formal school is no longer an option. LSP is their last opportunity to get the education they need, and they are seizing it enthusiastically.  “There is a hunger and desire to learn,” says Louise.

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 wuth 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.

What is exciting is how, by being given this chance to learn and heal, 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 the school she used to attend. They assessed her and she had gone up three grades in one year, thanks to what she learnt at LSP.

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.

Sawsan* had forgotten everything she had learnt at school which gave her low self-esteem. After a year of being at LSP, she could write Arabic poetry boosting her confidence enormously.

Your support of BMS is helping us to give refugee children like Rita, Michael and Sawsan purpose, hope and skills. What school they’ve missed in the past affect their future anymore.

Give to BMS today so we can help other children have a better future through our support of educational projects around the world.

*Names changed

This story originally appreared on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission.

BMS World Mission, 14/03/2017
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