Lebanon hosted around 1.5 million Syrian refugees in 2020. With no end in sight to the refugee crisis, Bible Society aims to support refugee families by providing literacy programs for children who are unable to attend school.
Bible Society Australia spoke to Rita from Bible Society Lebanon about her work in refugee camps during the COVID-19 crisis. Rita, 26, began volunteering with Bible Society Lebanon before moving into a full-time position 18 months ago.
It’s a work close to the heart of 26 year old Rita from Bible Society Lebanon. A qualified educational psychologist, she is passionate about developing Bible-based literacy programs for children, including refugees with little to no formal education. Without a foundational level of education, children are unable to enter Lebanon’s formal schooling system.
Mounting political, racial and religious tensions tearing through the Middle East are compounded by the impact of COVID-19. There is a very real danger that a whole generation will be left illiterate, homeless and without the basic opportunities that Australians take for granted.
Bible Society Lebanon’s literacy program educates children and youth using Scripture and stories about the love of Jesus.
Due to COVID-19 social distancing and isolation restrictions, all programs with children and youth in refugee camps and schools have temporarily been put on hold.
Rita is now creating innovative online training for kids, educators and parents, and preparing a new curriculum to launch this year ready for the re-opening of schools.
Rita perseveres through setback after setback, and there is a determination in her voice that speaks of her firm trust in God.
Adawiya, 8 years old: “I learned from the Bible to love each other and respect people and to want the best for others”.
Sendos, 12 year old refugee said: “I liked the story entitled “My friend is Sick” about Martha and Lazarus. I learned that Jesus answers our prayers and he can heal.”
Kamil, Bible teacher feedback: “It was challenging to keep doing the Bible lessons via Whatsapp but we gave them their Bibles to read at home and kept sending them material to do crafts, playdough and coloring with the weekly food distribution. I was amazed by one girl who sent us the voice message reciting the weekly Bible verse from the lessons. Her family was not open to Christian teaching in the beginning, but now they help their daughter read the lessons and do the homework.”