Q: Who does Tent Schools International define as “displaced” within your mission statement?

A: We define our mission of serving displaced children as those fleeing war, natural disaster and/or persecution due to gender, ethnicity, or ability. Some, not all, have refugee status.

Q: Are the schools you establish actually in tents?

A: Often, they are! Many of the schools we start with our partners are based out of sturdy tent structures, and in some cases schools have even been run out of large shipping containers. Tents or other portable structures are the most effective and efficient way to bring education to children living in transitional areas, such as refugee camps. We do have partners who run schools out of more permanent structures (a church building, for example) but all of the school projects we are involved with serve displaced children.

Q: Why can’t displaced or refugee students attend state schools in their host countries?

A: There are often two different situations at play for the kids we serve – one for displaced children and another for children with refugee status. In Jordan, for example, Iraqi families fleeing war in their home country do not arrive as refugees – they entered with their passports. Their children are unable to attend public school because they are neither citizens of Jordan, nor are they refugees, and the public schools are overcrowded with both Jordanian and Syrian (refugee) children who have refugee ID cards allowing them admittance since 2017. Iraqi students can attend private schools in Jordan, but they are expensive and families are typically unable to meet tuition and transportation requirements.

Syrian refugees in Jordan can attend public school with refugee ID, but there are reasons to provide a different option, overcrowding being one of them. At this point 83% of Syrian refugees live outside the camps and there are no specific schools for refugees outside of those camps. Syrian parents, as well as Iraqis, prefer to keep their kids home from public school because they tend to have trouble blending with Jordanian kids and they have a greater frequency of post-trauma needs that are not addressed in state schools. Lastly, the state schools are often quite a distance from where families live and transportation is a challenge. In winter they arrive home when it is getting dark because they attend the second shift (afternoon session) of a double-shift school. Parents fear for the kids’ safety in these situations.

Q: Do you send North American instructors to teach in refugee camps?

A: We do not send teachers to camps. Instead, we work through trusted partners to support Christian instructors from within a host country. However, we do offer trauma-informed guides for educators working with displaced children, no matter where they are based. As an example, a U.S. teacher in a public school may be interested in using our guide, Beyond PTSD, to better remove barriers to learning for the resettled refugee students in his or her classroom. Learn more about the resources we provide to teachers here.

Q: Do you lead mission trips to refugee camps?

A: We do not currently lead mission teams to the camps. Instead, we offer our expertise along with that of our partners on what we call “vision trips” – teams of supporters who travel to transitional areas to learn about the school projects and form relationships with our partners and with those from within the displaced populations we serve. We then encourage advocacy for the Tent Schools mission once supporters have returned. To learn more about how you can travel on a vision trip, contact us.

Q: Do you own or operate the schools?

A: No. We are involved with school projects that are owned and operated by in-country partners and staff. This is done to increase longevity and maximize impact. We provide aid in the sense that we assist with start-up funding for schools as well as ongoing access to educational resources and technology. However, we do not provide indefinite aid or take ownership of a project.

Q: What is included in start-up funding for a tent school?

A: Typically, three main categories are involved in starting up a tent school: construction materials, school supplies and technology for the teacher and for classroom use. We require our in-country partners to have a sustainability plan in place, including teacher salary support and monthly utilities, before start-up funding is sent.

Q:What services do you provide?

A: We provide three main areas of service to our partners:

  1. Funding for actual tent school structures including both one-time and ongoing costs associated with launching a school within an established time limit,
  2. technology for tent-school instructors and older students involved in career training, and
  3. teacher resources such as trauma-informed guides and curriculum.

Q: Where do you currently work?

A: Most recently, Tent Schools International has worked with in-country partners on school projects in Lebanon with Syrian refugees, Jordan with Iraqi refugees, Tanzania with refugees from Burundi, and Nepal with trafficking survivors and children displaced by the 2015 earthquake. We are based in the United States, offering our services domestically in the areas of technology and teacher resources for instructors working with re-settled students.

Q: What curriculum is used in the schools you support?

A: We support a compassionate approach to developing curriculum that considers both urgent educational needs (i.e. learning to read and write) and a child’s past experiences that may affect his or her ability to learn. The core subjects taught by in-country instructors in Lebanon, for example, are typically Arabic, Math, Reading and English. In an effort to meet the unique needs of children displaced by war and other disasters, we have worked with experts in the fields of mental health and disability to provide guides for educators such as Beyond PTSD and Nature as Therapy.

Q: Is Tent Schools International a Christian organization?

A: Yes, we are a faith-rooted organization that continues to be shaped by God’s love for all people, seen through the life of Jesus. We are not affiliated with a denomination and we welcome supporters of any or no faith background. Our goal is to serve as Jesus’ hands and feet toward displaced children.

Q: Do you proselytize or promote an agenda with these schools?

A: Our agenda is to welcome refugees by serving displaced children through education, as part of our call in Matthew 25:35 to welcome the stranger. We are a Christian organization working with in-country Christian partners, many of whom begin the school day with a devotional time based around God’s love for all people and the teachings of Jesus. Our partners do not conduct devotional times without permission from parents; when this permission does not exist, we continue to serve displaced communities through education in answer to Matthew 25, no strings attached.

Justice Fund Grant Frequently Asked Questions

To better assist you in the proposal writing process, here are questions others have asked. Perhaps you have similar questions.  Recognizing each proposal is unique, we are available to answer you inquiries.

Please pose your questions in writing to grants@wwcs.org.

First, please read the Terms, Training and Query Form pages under Grants on the wwcs.org webpage. Answers to many of your questions may be found there.

Who may apply?

Individuals, schools, agencies, or corporations committed to the educational success of children who are marginalized, at-risk or “vulnerable” as defined within their local contexts. We partner with those committed to the Word of God and teaching children how to discover their God-given gifts and potentials.

What is your funding dollar amount range?

We do not specify funding ranges.  It is important that your proposal itemizes the budget. We may consider a specific line item or category if not the entire request.

Do you consider multiple-year funding of a proposed project?

We review each proposal on its own merits, but, in general, applicants should not assume multiple-year funding will be available.

May applicants, whether funded or not, submit proposals in subsequent years?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of times an applicant or organization submits a proposal, though only one proposal would be considered in a given funding year.

Will you fund staff salaries or training?

Will do not fund on-going salaries.  We may fund a start-up salary for a specialized position related to the education of marginalized children. We will want to see evidence that the institution will continue funding that position.

Training support may be considered to gain skills for educating marginalized, at-risk children, with evidence of financial support for other sources.

Will you fund sponsorships/scholarships for tuition or school fees?

No.  We cannot commit to multiple year support.

Will you fund Operational or Capital (construction) Costs?

We will consider operational “seed” funds for new, creative initiatives which will model alternative approaches to educating  marginalized children or facility space for specialized instruction.

Is it OK to seek multiple donors in addition to submitting a Justice Fund proposal?

Yes. We encourage collaboration. Please report other contributing sources. We also want to see local investment.

When are funds released?

If you are informed that the proposal has been approved for funding, the funds will generally be released by the end of June of that year pending completion of the required training units.

Why is Justice Fund training required before funds are released?

The required training units guide grant recipients through the core values of the Justice Fund and aids recipients in developing strategies for at-risk (marginalized) learner outcomes.

If we miss the Query Form deadline of January 15, may we still submit the form?

Yes, we accept Query Form proposals throughout the year. However only proposals sent in by January 15 will be considered for funding in that calendar year. (example: a Query Form proposal submitted in August will be held until January of the following year for consideration.)

Does the proposed program have to be in a formal school setting?

No. We welcome creative ideas within or outside a school setting.  It must, however, target marginalized children and enhance their potential for educational success.

If we are awarded funds, do we have to spend it within the year it was granted?

No.  We do require reporting on the funds used and how unexpended funds will be used and when. Reporting forms, with instructions, will be sent to recipients when they are informed of the award and the amount they can expect to receive. In some cases, the Justice Fund panel may release funds in increments or stages to recipients as they use the funds.

What is your definition of “marginalized” children?

Marginalized children are those who are either denied an education or for whom a successful educational experience is out of reach due gender, ill health, disabilities, family economics, child labor practices, religion, racial or ethnic discrimination, or other causes weighing against a child’s successful education.

We understand definitions of who is at-risk, vulnerable or marginalized will vary according to local or cultural situations.

Our Justice Fund purpose is to support efforts which champion equal educational opportunities for all children by focusing on “the least of these,” so they may obtain a quality of life for themselves,  their families and honor God by serving others.

 

If you have additional questions about your proposal, please contact us at grants@wwcs.org.