Though news coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis has come in waves, the mass exodus of Syrians to other countries has not slowed since a vicious civil war began in 2011. While we often hear of those fleeing to Europe, more than 2 million people are currently living as refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, which both share borders with Syria.
One of the areas that is most important for children living as refugees is schooling. Many children lost out on years of education while in Syria, and school is not a given in the countries where they now live. But education is not only critical to ensure a healthy future for children, but it’s also vital in times of displacement. Along with social inclusion, school can help children heal from the trauma they’ve experienced by offering a safe, stable environment when stability is scarce. With education and support, hope for a future becomes possible again.
This is why Nazarene schools in Lebanon and Jordan have been proving scholarships for refugee children. They’re helping children haunted by conflict hold on to hope for a better future. This year’s NCM Christmas Project will provide additional scholarships to give safety and stability to children caught in conflict.
Over the next few days, we will share the stories of children who have already benefitted from these scholarships.
(This is a story we shared last year, but we think it’s worth sharing again.)
Amira’s* story began in Syria, in Aleppo. It’s a city that has shown up in the news a lot during the past five years of the war in Syria. It’s a city that has been pounded by airstrikes and bombings, a city that has been left in ruins. Like so many — too many — children, Amira’s house was demolished by one of those airstrikes. Thankfully, she and her family weren’t hurt, but they couldn’t stay in Syria. Amira and her family found their way to a refugee camp in Jordan, and from there they found a small place to live in a nearby town.
“When I left Syria, I felt a wound in my heart,” she says. “I left it because we had no choice. … It is my home and it will always be, even if it was ruined or got erased from the map.”
Traumatized and suddenly thrust into a deep poverty, Amira had no opportunity for education. That is, until she received a scholarship from a Nazarene school.
“I finally felt that I was in a safe environment,” she says.
To support the NCM Christmas Project, go to ncm.org/Christmas.
(*All children’s names have been changed for their protection and safety.)