The need for a school bus is urgent as new children arrive from a distant neighborhood.
You’ve likely heard of Petra, an ancient city carved from rose-colored rock, now a stunning tourist destination helping to power Jordan’s economy. But tourists aren’t the only crowds attracted to this Middle Eastern country. Jordan hosts refugees from 57 nations and is viewed as a safer destination than Lebanon or Egypt, where the economies are increasingly erratic.
Embedded in Jordan’s capitol city of Amman, Good Shepherd Center holds its own amid the chaos of a popular host nation. The school recently completed its seventh year of delivering quality education to Iraqi families targeted by ISIS in northern Iraq. As the Christian minority, these families saw their homes and businesses destroyed because of their faith and, at this point, they do not feel safe enough to return.This crisis has created a community of Iraqis in Amman who lack essential services enjoyed by Jordanians. One of them is education.
Good Shepherd is filling this urgent need and doing it well, supported by a local church and its partners. The school’s greatest strength is customized care for students, including special education for children with disabilities and post-trauma symptoms. Full-time special education instructors are rare in Jordan, but Principal Dawlat Hijazeen recently hired one, and everyone on staff is trained in sensory approaches, music, art and movement to rehabilitate students and meet them where they are. Teachers have also worked hard in 2021-2022 to help students catch up after losing ground during the pandemic.
Good news spreads quickly among Iraqis in Amman, and as seven school families were relocated to Australia in 2021, open spots were immediately filled when extended families of the student body made their own escape from Iraq. Last fall, Good Shepherd had 119 students, mostly Iraqis fleeing religious persecution. The student body has now grown to 136.
Of those, 55 children are from Al-Hashemi, a neighborhood 20 minutes away by car. An especially under-served area for Iraqis, families there are desperate to get their children back in school. Principal Hijazeen witnessed this need and responded by prioritizing transportation to Good Shepherd for Al-Hashemi kids.
“We have a van that travels there three to five times each morning to transport the children, with long waits for them in between,” said Hijazeen.
Due to the influx of children from Al-Hashemi, Good Shepherd needs a school bus. They hope to welcome more students from this area soon; a bus would transport 22 children in one trip, over double the number they can now serve in the school van. The purchase of a bus would be an investment of $60,000.
Good Shepherd is requesting our prayers and support for a bus purchase in 2023. They pledge to cover maintenance costs, one year of insurance, and license and registration for the vehicle. Supporters can also help by covering the van’s fuel costs for one year at $1,000 a month.
Despite its larger capacity, the U.S. hosts far fewer refugees than Middle Eastern countries like Jordan. As a supporter of Tent Schools International, you are enabling your brothers and sisters in Christ to “welcome the stranger”, wherever they are. Thank you!