Healing Hearts and Minds

Tent schools offer more than education to displaced children. You’re not only educating kids seeking refuge, but with your support, you are healing their hearts and minds, clearing the way for in-depth learning, emotional health and spiritual growth.

According to Save the Children, “In the last year alone refugee children have missed more than 700 million days of school, with this figure increasing by 1.9 million days every day… The state of provision for refugee education around the world is its own emergency.”

This is why refugee parents respond the way they do when humanitarian organizations ask them about their greatest need. Their response is consistently schools for their children.

“In the last year alone refugee children have missed more than 700 million days of school, with this figure increasing by 1.9 million days every day… The state of provision for refugee education around the world is its own emergency.”

Refugee children have lost their homes and sometimes even their families and friends. Education may be one of the few things on which they can build hope. Save the Children states that refugee families consistently ask for schools to be prioritized, and it’s time we listen to them. Access to a school, be it in a tent or other facility, means more than keeping up on basic skills. Schools stand for hope. They are beacons of light in the fog of uncertainty faced by children who have been displaced.

Studies find, and parents know, that education reduces early marriage, child labor, and recruitment by armed groups which target young children. On the positive side, continued education increases job opportunities and self-confidence. Children see themselves not as “refugees” but, like all children, youth with hopes and dreams.

More than Education

A school in southeast Asia, a partner of TSI through its LEAP program (Ryann Flippo)

Tent Schools International believes there are other benefits to schooling – less tangible, but as necessary to guarantee an abundant life. We partner with education-focused ministries to promote what we call “schools that heal.”

This means healing below the surface, beyond the measurable academic health of the student. We see the urgent need for emotional healing coming from students who have witnessed things we cannot even imagine.

Therapists with clients exhibiting the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder note that distrust of others is common, be they strangers or authority figures, and this inhibits emotional connection and learning. Distrust carries over into the spiritual realm, and here we can provide a pathway to wholeness. With the support of loving, compassionate Christian teachers, children are finding safe and friendly places to help them on their journey to healing.

“Given what we know about the challenges in providing quality education to refugee populations, especially in developing countries which host most of the world’s refugees, we know that focused attention, urgent reinforcement and sustained commitment is required,” reports Save the Children. “But we also believe that getting all refugee children the opportunity to learn once again is possible.”

The signs are hopeful rather than dire, despite the current lack of educational services for refugees and displaced children due to disasters.

Syrian boys in Lebanon (Salah Assad Nassar)

“Given what we know about the challenges in providing quality education to refugee populations, especially in developing countries which host most of the world’s refugees, we know that focused attention, urgent reinforcement and sustained commitment is required,” reports Save the Children. “But we also believe that getting all refugee children the opportunity to learn once again is possible.”

With this hope, TSI stands beside our partner schools, though we echo the challenges for sustainability. One step toward that goal is evidenced as refugee families take part in the decision-making processes advocating for their children’s education. We are building on their insights on how to best reach their children.

This is a team effort. Among refugee families are professionals from all fields of business, medicine, education, manufacturing and Information Technology (IT). Their dreams for their children are no different than ours. Together, we can ensure that all of the schools we are part of, in one way or another, are indeed “schools that heal.”

Dale Dieleman, Executive Director

 

Together, we can bring schools that heal to displaced children. Give today.