It was recently that time of year back in the USA where families wrapped up their summer vacations, shopped the back to school sales, and trucked their kids back to school. School is back in session, and two semesters of learning lay ahead for most kids in the USA, whether they like that arrangement or not!
What if your child actually wanted to go to school, but could not because your whole family had been displaced by a war for years?
What if your family couldn’t shop the back to school specials for a new backpack and some notebooks, because you could barely afford bread to survive?
That is the reality for many Syrians we meet and work with in the ME region. Some children – bright, intelligent, eager to learn kids – have been unable to attend school for three years or more due to displacement as a refugee. The UN recognizes this “lost generation” of Syrian children is a crisis happening right now.
We also recognize this as a significant challenge for the future of the refugee families we are trying to help in the ME, and a major concern of the refugee parents we know. They wish they could send their child to school, but they are just trying to survive day to day.
The good news is, the UN announced last week that they are funding extra school sessions for Syrian refugees at public schools, making school itself free in certain ME countries hosting refugees.
However, the problem many refugee families still face is transportation (which is not free, and costs upwards of $50/child per month), books, school supplies, and uniforms. These additional costs are too much for most families, keeping their kids at home instead of sent off to school to learn and recover this “lost generation.”
Our Effort To Help: The EAP
That is why we are starting an Education Assistance Program (EAP) to enable Syrian children to get back into school for the 2016-2017 school year.
We currently have 14 Syrian refugee children we want to sponsor monthly for transportation, books and uniform needs. This will make it possible for them to attend school this year, some of them for the first time. We expect this number to grow throughout the year as well.
We also have almost 40 Syrian refugee children who need help with school supplies for the year. Some are those we hope to sponsor for the year, others are either close enough to a school to walk, or have the means provided to get there already.
Every child will get a sturdy backpack, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, pencil case, scissors, and other normal school items to last them they whole year that they currently have no way to afford.
We are actively acquiring the school supplies to distribute soon, as school starts at the end of this month. The average cost per school supply set is around $65-$70 per child. We are hoping to get them to the children in time for the start of school this month.
While we wish we had the resources to start our own education center here, we are praying the Lord would provide just for this smaller present initiative to get Syrian children back into the UN-sponsored schools.
How To Sponsor A Syrian Child To Go To School
We will make a separate page specifically for the Syrian child sponsorship program portion of the EAP soon, but the essential information is already available.
There are 14 Syrian children who want to go to school this year but need help to make that a reality. Of these children, 8 of them have NEVER gone to school since being forcibly displaced by war in Syria years ago.
This program offers them that opportunity again for the first time since becoming a refugee. They are quite excited at the possibility of studying in a real school, instead of staying at home or playing on the streets.
So what exactly is involved in sponsoring a child for the EAP?
- You would commit to providing around $60-$75 per child per month (amounts can vary based on the location of the child and their school) for at least a semester.
- You would commit to pray for the child and their family regularly.
- You would also commit to writing a letter to the child each semester (we would translate it for you once we received it).
- You will get a small information packet with background on the child and a picture (digitally sent).
- You will also receive at least one letter a semester from the child you are sponsoring, as well as a brief progress report on their education.
- Their families are required to meet with us each month for a progress update on the child
- It is possible to sponsor multiple children in a family as well, as some children in the program are siblings.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please contact us directly on our site.
If you are interested in helping with providing school supplies for the Syrian children, you can find out how to get involved and help below: