The future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—just like anywhere else in the world—relies on the next generation. However, thousands of children in that region are not currently receiving any formal education because they were forced to flee their war-torn homeland. Schools in the host countries—even if they are near the refugees’ make-shift tent communities—cannot accommodate the educational needs of so many children. SAT-7 partner Heart for Lebanon is providing some schooling but only for grades K through five.
Having the privilege to visit the actual camps, we saw more and more of what life is like for these refugee families. We drove to tent communities where approximately 100 families had set up tents. We had been instructed not to wear any jewelry into the camps; and as we entered the area, I removed the ring that my new friend had given me and placed it in my pocket. With the fathers’ permissions and in partnership with Heart for Lebanon, we were allowed to enter, sit, and talk to the families. Each of the four families we visited had a different story, full of heartbreak and uncertainty. These families have very little food, no money and no hope.
Two of my colleagues and I were allowed to pray for the families. Many tears fell after the prayers. As we were sitting on the floor visiting one of the families, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to put that ring back on. I thought, “I can’t. We were told not to.” But He dropped that nugget in my mind again and I knew I had to be obedient. A few minutes later I heard children’s voices and I looked up to see my new beautiful friend “S” peeking through the entrance of that tent looking for me! Of all the camps we could have visited, we went to the one where she lived! She grabbed me again and hugged me and instantly grabbed my hand and looked at my finger to see if I was still wearing the ring. Neither of us had known when we said goodbye earlier that we would see each other again, just a few hours later. Our final goodbye was very difficult but I assured her again that I would pray for her and love her always.
“S” felt my love and trusted me enough to give me a beautiful ring when she has nothing. What can we offer her and the other beautiful children and their families in return for her sacrificial gift? What can we do to equip them for the future? They have left a country that they cannot go back to. They are living in camps in remote areas where they are not welcome, receiving limited resources to sustain them. Many of the kids are not going to school and are not being taught any curriculum at home. Many parents are afraid to send their kids to school for fear of what might happen to them if they are forced out of their camps during the day.
We must provide the very basics that so many of us take for granted with our children—educational and Christian programming that will give them HOPE and show them the true Author of love – Christ, whose sacrifice was the greatest of all!
The UN has provided small TVs and satellite dishes to the refugee camps. During our visit we told parents about SAT-7 and the educational programs we provide. They seemed excited about the possibility of receiving educational programming for their kids.
Join us in supporting SAT-7 programming that provides educational content as well as encouragement, HOPE, and God’s love to children and parents who feel they have lost it all! Partner with us TODAY to help support this vital program!
With Middle East HOPE,
Project Manager & Speaker