By Dr. Mary Mikhael*
Dear friends and partners in the service of Christ,
Greetins and gratitude to all of you who have been on the journey with us working to ease the pain and suffering of many Syrians who are displaced and made refugees.
Thank you for all those who have been deeply concerned with us about our attempt to rescue many of the refugee children who are denied their right to be in schools.
In the following I will give you the full news of those schools NESSL established to serve the first 230 of those children now in the third month of full activity:
It was a fact that it took us much longer then we expected to launch those educational programs. We hoped to start November 2015, instead we were able only to start in February 2016. Praise be to God now we serve in four locations and having 231 beautiful children ages six years to eleven years of age mostly never bee to school before.
We hope we can keep those children for the coming two years so to establish the basics of education for the children and enable them to move to normal schools, when possible, with no difficulties.
Thankfully our business office has now collected the information that will enable setting a budget which will be communicated to all our partners who will continue with us this great ministry, keeping in mind that the number of children will surely increase which will demand more equipment and teachers.
The four locations are as follows:
- The Rayak location in the Bekaa valley. Started in February 2016 with 50 children.
- The Kib Elias location also in the Bekaa valley. Started in February 2016 with 50 children, four of which moved out with their parents.
- The Tyre location in the south of Lebanon. Started in March 2016 with 61 children. About two weeks later a very sad event happened during the weekend a child was sent by his mother for an errand when he was hit by a car on the street and wounded seriously. The pastor and the teachers ran to the hospital to help the family and see the child. They helped the family with all legal matters and spoke to the doctors and provided all they could. regretfully the child died after one week. The pastor committed himself to continue helping and comforting the family in every way. He said, " God had a purpose bringing that child to the school for two weeks where he experienced love and care, and listened to bible stories, and even learned bible verses." Indeed the stories of pain are new day by day.
- The Minyara location in the North of Lebanon. Started in March 2016 with 75 children. This location is the only rented one and much work was done to make it appropriate.
Common Facts in All Locations:
- The four basic school subjects are taught. Arabic reading and writing, Arithmetic, Sciences, General Ethics. And the Syria Curriculum is also used . English added in all.
- Children are provided with all school material, such as books, stationary, school costumes.
- Children are collected by buses from the camps and driven back at the end of school.
- All children are insured against accidents, and given the needed medicine.
- All are provided with drinking water, juice, milk, and one meal.
- Every school day begins with a period of worship, prayer, hymn, and a bible story.
Two of those schools plan to teach for the whole year with only two weeks vacation at the end of August.
The two other schools will break for July and August.
Friends we continue to depend on God first and then on you the people of God to continue with us this journey of faith in serving children in great need.
To God be the glory in Christ.
*Dr. Mikhael is a staffperson for the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, the immediate past president of the Near East School of Theology, and a former member of the Common Global Ministries Board of Directors.
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continue to offer support for the work of many partners in the region to provide humanitarian response to the needs of Syrian refugees. Please consider supporting the work of Global Ministries' partners' relief efforts in and around Syria. You can do that through One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC), the Week of Compassion (Disciples), or through Global Ministries directly.