It is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Four and a half million Syrians are seeking refuge from the brutal civil war which has torn apart their country and shattered their lives. Millions more try to keep ahead of the carnage by moving from village to village within Syria. The civil war has dragged on for five long years. Hundreds of thousands have died and many
more bear both physical and emotional scars. There is little hope for peace.
Yet children like Raisan still dream. She dreams that one day she will become a doctor to help those who are sick and suffering. Raisan’s father has long worked in Lebanon. His family lived in Syria and he would send the bulk of his wages home to support them. Fearful for their safety, when the conflict became too dangerous he told them to leave Syria and move to Lebanon. His salary had been more than enough to support them in Syria, but Lebanon’s cost of living is far higher. In Syria they had a lovely home, but now they live in a ramshackle two room apartment under an overpass.
Lebanon’s resources have been strained by the influx of over one million refugees. Children are bearing the biggest brunt of the crisis and they make up almost half of the refugee population in Lebanon. For most refugee families food, shelter, and healthcare are more urgent priorities than education. The biggest barrier to education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon is the lack of space in public schools. The schools are overwhelmed and simply cannot cope with the sheer volume of refugees. Over 200,000 school-aged refugee children lack access to age-appropriate education.
Denying children an education hampers not only their intellectual growth and emotional well-being, but also their future opportunities.
ADRA has been providing food, shelter assistance, and other aid to Syrians for several years. In response to educational need, in December 2014 ADRA opened a school for refugee children with funding from our generous donors and the Canadian government. Raisan is now one of the students. At first a space above a commercial bank was rented. 120 children registered and others joined a long waiting list.
Mrs. Karan, an Adventist teacher, came out of retirement to become the principal. The other teachers are all Syrian refugees. The rental space was not ideal so a new school is being constructed at Middle East University campus on the site of an old basketball court. The new building will have ample classroom space, proper washroom facilities, and an area for recreational activities.
In response to the overwhelming needs, the Canadian government launched the Syria Emergency Relief Fund. All eligible donations made by December 31, 2015, up to $100 million, will be matched.
ADRA will continue to provide emergency and other assistance to these vulnerable people.
Please join us by giving generously so that children like Raisan can realize their dreams.