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Intense experiences, good or bad, can leave long-lasting impressions. After fleeing from war, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychiatric issue among refugee kids, and children recovering from trauma often have difficulty in a traditional classroom. Focusing on school work can be a challenge, especially lessons that require memorization.
“They have all gone through major traumas,” said K*, a refugee camp worker who is helping to establish tent schools in Lebanon. “We have seen their learning abilities restored only through blending learning with games, singing, art, and fun activities. These kids turn 180 degrees when we teach them new songs and tell them stories.”
“This is where we can use Bible stories in creative ways…to shift their philosophies into love, tolerance, and forgiveness,” said K.
Many refugee children have lost months or years of their education, and remain illiterate. Showing them Jesus’ love by teaching them to read, write and speak English is a a priority for tent school educators.
The teachers who are currently working in the camps are not always professionals, but they have developed an understanding and patience for the children, who are accustomed to chaos.
“The teachers have the heart to do this,” said K. “This is about seeing a generation growing in the love of God, and if they return to Syria, not to fight, not to kill. [It’s about] teaching them another way to build a future.”