By Daniella Daou
On an early Monday morning in Anjar’s MERATH-supported church-based learning center, young Mazen came in with his classmates for a SKILD-facilitated session on psychosocial support. As part of a series on social emotional learning, that day’s lesson was on positively handling negative emotions.
As the children each picked out one emotion from a stack of cards on the table, Mazen’s friends picked out the one I dreaded the most: hunger. To avoid bringing up food scarcity due to Lebanon’s ongoing crisis, the children and I worked on positively resolving hunger in normal home situation. For example, when they come back from school and lunch is not ready yet, because their parents were busy. However, the inevitable was brought up. Mazen raised his hand to express that “sometimes it’s not that food is not ready, sometimes we don’t have food at home…”.
Field visits always come with bittersweet realizations. The joy and eagerness of seeing the children one more time is always mixed with the crushing reality of their extreme vulnerability.
Yet I have never met such grateful kids, welcoming every act of kindness like a golden opportunity.
“Who’s happy it’s a Monday?” I asked at the beginning of our get-together, not expecting positive feedback. I was taken back by one of their answers, “We love Monday because it means we come to school.”
When you live with a refugee status stamped on you like an identity marker, you cannot escape the vulnerability in an already collapsing country. But that also means you count your blessings twice, because you hang on to them. Syrian refugees, and many Lebanese families, now live below the poverty line, on less than $1 a day.
No child deserves to go to sleep hungry, walk to school barefoot, or compare themselves to their friends and feel less. MERATH and SKILD’s work in church-based learning centers is the embodiment of the holistic approach of LSESD ministries.
Psycho-Social Support for Refugees
This ministry is essential to building healthy coping and resilience skills, as well as minimizing the consequences of conflict.