It’s been five years since the civil war in Syria began, causing millions of families to flee their homes and livelihoods. Now many live in Lebanon and Jordan, with more than half of the refugee population made up of children. The crisis now, after years of displacement, is that many of the children are going almost an entire childhood without an education.
One of the most fundamental necessities for a child is access to an education. But with such large demands, countries that have taken in refugees in large numbers are out of resources and underfunded. Lebanon and Jordan have been working on policies to reform their education system so that more children living as refugees can have an education. However, there are still many who have not been accepted due to strict policies on residency and work permissions for families of refugees.
Over the past year, Nazarene churches in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, have been working with children through an initiative called the Syrian Temporary Education Program (STEP). These local churches are working together with their educators to teach children basic language and math skills. Along with elementary education being taught, many children and families are being exposed to the gospel message and biblical teachings for the first time.
The results of STEP are continuing to show through students who’ve successfully gone through the program. Children who would have never qualified to enroll in an accredited school are now being admitted after learning fundamentals from STEP.
Adnan*, 11, and Riham*, 12, are two students who’ve come through STEP. It would have been impossible for the brother and sister from a refugee family to receive a formal education in Lebanon without the basics they received from participating in STEP.
Both children were enrolled in STEP for two years and now are continuing their education in an accredited school.
Programs such as STEP are at the heart of this year’s NCM Christmas Project. Every donation to the NCM Christmas Project is providing an opportunity for refugee children to attend Nazarene schools or participate in programs like STEP.
To donate to the Christmas Project today, visit ncm.org/Christmas.
*Names have been changed for children’s protection.