“I don’t want to go to school!” Do you remember saying that? Or do you have a child who regularly utters it?
In Lebanon, the opposite is the case. Children who have escaped from the bloody conflict in Syria have a 20 per cent chance of getting a school place. Schools have been closed for a long time in Syria, and many children have forgotten all they learnt.
If they don’t get to go to school soon, some fear that they will never receive a decent education and will get left behind, their chance for a decent job gone forever. They desperately want to go to school.
BMS mission worker Louise Brown and a team from Hadath Baptist Church in Beirut are responding to the needs of some of these Syrian children, as well as those Lebanese kids who are struggling in school academically and socially, through the Learning Support Project (LSP).
The project, which Louise manages, teaches 11 and 12 year old students in small groups, helping them with numeracy, literacy and life-skills. There are two social workers to give support and family interventions if needed. Over 30 children are attending, some from the Hadath area, with Syrian children bussed in from across Beirut as they cannot afford to travel to the church themselves. When one boy missed the bus one day, he walked over 90 minutes to get to the project, so keen was he to learn.
Started in October 2013, Louise says that the project is already seeing some amazing results. “We had two sisters from a Syrian family come and join our project,” she says.
“The older one was literate, but the younger one had forgotten everything she had learnt at school and had really low self-esteem because of this. By the end of this year, she was able to write Arabic poetry and you can imagine the transformation that makes in a girl’s self-esteem.
“It is so wonderful to see just how much a life can be transformed through education and literacy and numeracy.”