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Dear friends,

The Lebanese and Middle Eastern context is a highly religious one where religion is closely knit with identity. The challenge, however, is when religious affiliation becomes the only form of identity and unites people of the same faith against others of a different faith. This is when religion, which is meant to bring out the best in people, becomes divisive and a source of much pain and suffering, which is the case in many countries and communities today.  Yet, is it not amidst such darkness that our light should shine brighter?  

As LSESD, our faith-inspired values exhort us to stand by our brothers and sisters in humanity, regardless of who they are, and to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” and to “defend the rights” of the vulnerable (Proverbs 31:8-9). We communicate our faith and values by addressing the basic needs of vulnerable families in a manner that preserves their dignity; by reducing the future vulnerability of students with learning difficulties; in our commitment to growing a culture of acceptance and respect for differences; and in raising socially responsible leaders who take an active role towards the common good.  

Today, it is estimated that one in four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee, and one in three people is a refugee – Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian or other.  While LSESD’s community development and relief arm, MERATH [Middle East Revive And Thrive], takes the lead on our humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, the  complexity of the needs have led LSESD’s other ministries to get involved too, each within its own area of focus such as trauma support; assessments and personalized interventions for children at social, emotional, and/or academic risks; activities for children; producing accessible resources that carry a message of hope and encouragement... In parallel, we have new programs that further expand our impact in the community ranging from e-learning, online training, and working with public schools, to education for former street children. 

We count on your prayers and support.  You can partner with us on a variety of projects that are centered around three main areas of focus: equipping the local church and community-based organizations, education for all, and community development and relief as an expression of the practical love of Christ to the vulnerable and the marginalized in our midst. Contact us for more information. Thank you!

Nabil K. Costa

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