Schools that Heal

Syrian families stand in line for food rations in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

“As they go through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84: 6-7)

The Valley of Baca in biblical times meant “sorrow” or “tears” as pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem.

Today, Bekaa Valley, which may be the biblical valley, borders Syria, and though it is much more fertile, it remains a place of sorrows for over a million refugees, nearly 400,000 of which are children – half of that number have never been to school.

Going into another cold-weather season, the news from the UN High Commission on Refugees is ominous. The Commission’s head of operations, George Okoth-Obbo, admits the UN’s ability to meet refugees’ basic needs, excluding education, “is at a breaking point.” Because of diminishing international support, the per-capita, per-day spending for refugees has been reduced from $1.24 in 2009 to 60 cents today.

“If I was to choose one thing which all of us should work on very strongly for the next 12 months, it would be capacity. We are at the limit of capacity,” said Okoth-Obbo.

Syrian children in Jordan (photo courtesy of Rawan Haddad)

The reduced support is playing into the hands of a much more sinister strategy to repatriate refugees back to Syria, a death sentence for thousands of Syrian men and boys. Countries such as Jordan are using a passive-aggressive technique by making refugee camp living so deplorable that people will have no choice but to repatriate, even if it means being apprehended at the border and arrested.

Building our capacity means we need to raise $180,000 by year’s end.

We at TSI are re-doubling our efforts to fill this ever-widening gap between children’s need for schooling and the world’s willingness or ability to make their education a priority.

We need schools that heal, and we need them now.

Our goal, with you, is to boost our capacity to make the Bekaa Valley, or wherever we are called to work, fertile: where tents become schools, laptops become windows to digital learning, and teachers are refreshed with practical tools to better reach children traumatized by what they have seen and heard.

Please join us! Together we can reach this goal to ensure children can grow “from strength to strength” by discovering the Good News, even in such dire circumstances.

May God bless you as you consider where He may be leading you to give.


Dale Dieleman
Executive Director