A letter from… Lebanon
Alia Abboud reports on the work of Christians in Lebanon
To see how our churches in Lebanon have responded to the arrival of a million refugees from Syria is an amazing thing. There is negative history between Syria and Lebanon because of the Syrian occupation and the Lebanese Civil War (from 1975 to 1990). Most Lebanese people have been hurt by the occupation, and yet almost every church in Lebanon has taken on more families of refugees than it has members in the congregation. I know one church with 65 members which is responding to the need of 1,700 families. Syrians are familiar with the history and ask why we Christians are doing this. It is a huge thing, because it means God is at work in our people’s hearts that they may forgive and forget.
Through our relief programme we provide, among other forms of support, monthly food aid for about 8,000 families – refugees in Lebanon as well as internally displaced in Syria – which is important because most families have lost their provider. But education is also very much on our heart.
Fifty-three per cent of Syrian refugee children are of school age and some have not been to school for three or four years. Although the Lebanese Ministry of Education is actively seeking to increase access to formal education there still remain multiple barriers. UNHCR reported 487,615 school-aged Syrian refugee children of which only 147,000 were enrolled in public school as of June 2016. Many families prefer the education programmes started by churches. …
Alia Abboud is the Director for Development and Partner Relations of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, a partner of Embrace the Middle East. To donate to the work of Embrace the Middle East visit www.embraceme.org/give or call 01494 897 950
This is an extract from the February 2017 edition of Reform.