The SKILD team are used to visiting schools across Lebanon as they help teachers and parents support children with learning difficulties, but a recent visit to a tent school left them emotionally shaken.

During their visit to assess the tent school students for learning difficulties, the team visited some of the children’s homes in the Bekaa Valley. As they went around the tents, they were shocked by how poor the refugee children were, which they saw immediately from the state of their clothing. “There were obvious indications of poverty and hunger,” says Nathalie Biban, a speech and language therapist for SKILD.  Nathalie and the team saw a teapot in one tent which they heard was for making tea to reduce the effects of stomach aches the children were having from being so hungry.

Seeing the plight of these refugee children moved the SKILD team to act. They decided to raise some money to pay for the tent school students to receive nutritious meals, something the school was not able to afford before. Thanks to their fundraising, the children will receive a healthy breakfast every school day until the end of June. So instead of being hungry during school, the children are enjoying a variety of foods including manakeesh (flatbread topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat) fruit, croissants and sandwiches, and some juice to drink too. The teachers have reported that the children have been able to focus better on their studies now that their stomachs are full at the start of each new day!

The tent school is part of True Vine Church’s response to the desperate needs of refugees in their community, for which they are being supported by LSESD.  Following starting an education programme for 300 children in the church basement in 2013, the tent school was opened in November 2015 on one of the refugee settlements so True Vine could reach 70 more Syrian refugee children and provide them with a non-formal education they would not otherwise have. Thanks to True Vine, LSESD and the SKILD team the mind, body and spirit of each of these refugee children is now being fed.

Chris Hall   |   February 2016

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