Making Education Portable

When homes, schools and lives are destroyed during war or natural disasters, how can education bring compassion, peace and a level of normalcy to young lives? The answer is mobility.

Displaced people often deal with multiple life-altering challenges at once.

Amina, a young woman from Syria, fled the war-torn city of Homs with her family and arrived in Mafraq, Jordan with the clothes she was wearing and a few belongings. Amina also suffers from multiple health problems, and is weary of living in the “in between” of displacement. She is eager to learn English so that she can emigrate to Canada and rebuild her life. Limited access to education was a barrier for Amina at first, especially when her health made it difficult for her to attend classes.

Thankfully for Amina and many others, there is a community center in Mafraq on a busy street just ten miles from the southern border of Syria that is run by a church. The center operates an informal school so that Syrian youth can receive a basic education, and currently serves 162 Syrian children who have been turned away from the overflowing public schools in Jordan.

Amina is now connected to a range of educational resources through the center, and due to her health concerns, she is able to check out a laptop to use in her apartment, provided through Tent Schools International’s (TSI) LEAP program. TSI’s goal through LEAP is to provide portable access to education through technology.

Doug Wicks is a project manager for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which has more than 700 international workers who serve in 70 countries. One of these projects is working among Syrian refugees in north Jordan. It was Wicks who connected with Tent Schools International when he learned about LEAP.

“I shared the need in Mafraq with [TSI Vice President] Dale Dieleman, and he kindly followed through with my request for 12 laptops for the community center,” said Wicks. “We were elated with the quick response.”

“I am reminded once again of the way God uses His global family to fulfill His purposes.”

The laptops were hand-delivered by a mission group from West Shore Free Church in Pennsylvania that was scheduled to visit Mafraq near the end of June. The group was partnering with a church in Mafraq that was coordinating relief and development efforts among Syrian refugees.

The staff at the center were thrilled with the computers, and in her words, Amina was “super thankful”. Now that she has access to a LEAP laptop, she is learning English more quickly, and she has allowed a Christian staff person to pray with her.

“The laptops have already been a huge blessing to the students and staff at the center,” Wicks wrote to Dieleman. “They arrived just in time for a summer English-language computer program and replaced some older, malfunctioning laptops.”

“I am reminded once again of the way God uses His global family to fulfill His purposes—an office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, sent 12 laptops to a church group in Pennsylvania, who hand-carried them to Mafraq, Jordan, where they are now being used for His Kingdom purposes. Amazing!”

Learn more, and give today. Together, we can continue to make education portable.