Picture of Founder

About Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule (JLSS)        German Flag    French Flag  


Rev. Johann Ludwig Schneller, born in Württemberg Germany, founded the Syrian Orphanage in Jerusalem in 1860. The orphanage developed and expanded under the leadership of the Schneller family providing outstanding care, education, and vocational training to many generations. Graduates of the Syrian Orphanage were famous for their outstanding education and skills. Most had very successful careers, and were uplifted from extreme poverty to becoming leading people in their communities.

The famous orphanage survived the First World War, and continued its very successful ministry until the beginning of the Second World War, when it was occupied, first by the British, and later by the Israeli army. Rev. Hermann Schneller, the founder’s grandson who was the director of the orphanage then, was deported to Australia.

The orphanage was temporarily relocated to a few places.  Bethlehem and Nazareth in Palestine, and Chimlan and Zahle in Lebanon, were its location for short periods.

In 1948, Mr. Elias Nassrallah al-Haddad had to flee to Lebanon with twelve children. They were the only students left after all others were sent to relatives. They remained in the orphanage because they had no one to go to.

In 1951 Rev. Hermann Schneller returned to Lebanon and after several sojourns rented a place in Zahle, a main city in the Beqaa valley. At the end of 1952, he moved with the children into the newly opened orphanage in Khirbet Qanafar.

Initially, the original name: “Syrian Orphanage” was used, but it was later changed to “Johann Ludwig Schneller School”.  

Rev. Hermann Schneller maintained the original mission of the Syrian Orphanage in the newly founded Johann Ludwig Schneller School, where underprivileged children until now are provided with caring and loving homes, and a high standard of education or vocational training. 

The Syrian Orphanage properties in Palestine were completely lost because they were owned by German citizens. To avoid a repeat of this disaster, Rev. Hermann Schneller registered all the properties of Johann Ludwig Schneller School in the name of the National Evangelical Church in Beirut.

The school is now owned and administered by the National Evangelical Church in Beirut (NECB). The church has carried this responsibility in partnership with EVS (Evangelischer Verein für die Schneller-Schulen) and EMS (Evangelical Mission in Solidarity) since 1972. Other partners and friends also support the school.  

Mission and Ministry   

Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule (JLSS) is situated in the middle of the fertile region of West Beqaa in Lebanon, in Khirbet Qanafar.

JLSS is much more than just a school. At present about 92 boys and girls aged between 3 and 20 are growing up together in ten families (boarding homes). We have children from all the religious denominations in Lebanon, both Christian and Muslim. Most of our children are Lebanese, but we also have many Syrian and a few Palestinian students. 

JLSS aims to provide a healthy home to underprivileged children regardless of their background, race, religion, or gender. The aim is to equip them with the necessary means to become responsible and successful citizens in their societies, by nurturing them spiritually and ethically. They are also provided with a high standard of education or vocational training. 

In addition to boarding children, we have 210 boys and girls who come from the vicinity as day-pupils. JLSS has both an academic department and a vocational department.

The academic program starts with Kindergarten 1 and goes up to Grade 9. We also have Grades 10 and 11 when enough students are registered.

The vocational program begins with Grade 7 or 9. It goes up to Grade 3 of the Dual System upon which students receive the Secondary School Certificate in their respective vocation. Students also sit for the official exams. They receive the official Lebanese Secondary School Certificate of vocational training. In total the vocational program in JLSS extends to five years of training.

Our vocational program includes: Car Mechanics, Industrial Mechanics, Woodworking and Carpentry, Industrial Electricity, Sewing and Fashion Design, Hairdressing, and cosmetics.

Every day after school hours, boarding students have time for studies, sports, music, art, chess, and other leisure activities.  

A lot of workers are needed to run a place as large as JLSS. About 66 people: educators, teachers, trainers, technicians, administrative staff, cooks, bakers, a medical doctor, psychologists, and others see that the children are not only getting a good education but are also living a happy and healthy life in a well-maintained campus! 

About 100 acres of farmland belong to JLSS. Part of the land is used to grow apple trees, olive trees and a vineyard which is rented to the famous Lebanese Ksara winery.

We also have a bakery that produces healthy German breads and pastries that are enjoyed by our students and are also sold at the school gate.


The main supporters of JLSS are EVS (Evangelischer Verein für die Schneller-Schulen) and EMS (Evangelical Mission in Solidarity) in Germany. The school’s charitable ministry is totally dependent on them.

Other partners including SVS in Switzerland, Embrace the Middle East in the UK, the Lutheran Board for Mission Support - USA, Rotary clubs of the Rotary Foundation, and worldwide friends and alumni, support our school.

We also receive substantial support from the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs.

A major part of our income comes from school fees of day students, income from land, and limited income from the bakery, the guesthouse, and some of our workshops.

Schneller School Name in Arabic
Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule

Education for Peace since 1860