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Joseph Milan wants to reignite a love of learning in the Syrian refugee children who attend his shipping container school in Lebanon.
In nine years of working with Syrian refugees, the Lebanese pastor knows how children and families, quite understandably, give up. The living conditions in tent cities are harsh through scorching heat in summer and damp cold with frequent flooding in winter. Money is always in short supply. In addition, children are reluctant to go to school because of shame from knowing they are years behind in their studies.
In response, Milan creates shipping container schools where children experience quick, rewarding wins to get them excited about school again. That is the rationale behind his language school, and it is working. Children quickly love to go to school as they learn numbers and phrases in six to eight languages through group and individual learning.
“It gives them confidence if they can recite numbers to 100 in seven languages, and the language instruction helps them interact with members of Lebanese communities outside the camps,” he said. Milan has also found that the promise of a computer as a reward spurs students to pass the final test. With their renewed excitement for learning, the children and teens are ready to resume formal schooling with math and reading instruction.
Milan has visions in the near future of adding computer literacy classes and electrician training to give students employable skills.