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After a year of reporting on the “almost-ready” status of a school on a truck, the dream of a mobile school for Syrian children has finally reached the camps of Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
The pandemic and societal upheaval in Lebanon combined to cause a full year of delays, but our partner has now checked every box: the purchase of a cargo truck with help from TSI donors, vehicle inspections, license plates and driver certifications. The dedication of Pastor Joseph Milan and his son Sayeed of Warm Heart Lebanon is unmatched. Now, our team will be reaching students in Bekaa Valley by the time you’re reading this post.
Tent Schools International (TSI) has committed to operating the mobile school at $3,000 USD monthly for one year, putting 12 Syrian children back in school with a committed teacher, nutritious lunches and bathroom facilities. The sum will also cover a driver, fuel, and school materials. For about $1,000 more monthly, a second class of 12 could be added.
“I’m a survivor person, and a faithful person,” said Pastor Joseph in a March interview with TSI. “I believe and trust the Lord will provide. For such an amount, we can do things.”
Joseph and Sayeed have years of experience working with children in the camps using language instruction and vocational training inside shipping containers. This will be their first school on wheels. Under this replicable model and with the required funding, an increasing number of kids can be reached over a wider area.
A physical space to learn was the first step, but without a teacher the truck won’t impact kids. In each camp, Joseph looks for a Syrian educator who is serious about empowering the refugee community.
“You need someone from within who will represent them – a peacemaker, an ambassador. They know the tents. They know the families.”
“Students will learn English, math and receive vocational training – “subjects they will actually use”, according to Sayeed. The father-son team have spent years building trust within the camps, and now those efforts are paying off.
“[The kids] love our school,” said Joseph. “When they see my car coming, they say, ‘Joseph is here!’ They are excited. They know I’ll come on a Thursday or a Saturday and they start to clean the camp. It has been a big blessing to me.”
Together, we are delivering education where no school has gone before. Thank you for your support!