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Vocational Training for Syrian Refugee Women

With the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, the suffering of over a Million people was seen everywhere. The history and mission of Schneller School has always been to stand by those who are suffering. Last year we started helping Syrian refugees by admitting twenty Syrian refugee children into JLSS. This was possible through kind grants from our German partners EVS/EMS.
This year we have twenty-six Syrian refugee children studying in our school, but we decided to do more.

Vocational Training for Syrian Refugees The most vulnerable of the Syrian refugees are the women whose husbands are dead, missing or imprisoned. These women are refugees in a strange land with children to look after. They live in tents in the bitter cold of a Lebanese winter with sub-zero temperatures at times, and they have no or very little support.

These people were living happily in their homes in Syria, and they suddenly had to flee for their lives. The war literally destroyed their lives, and they found themselves alone in a strange land with their children to support.

JLSS wanted to do more than provide them with temporary help. We wanted to equip them with a skill that will enable them to earn a living to adequately support their children. We launched a pilot project whereby we provide vocational training (sewing and dress-making) to ten of these women, with the hope that at the end of the war when they return to Syria, they will be able to support themselves and their children.

Our initial attempt failed because the women refused to attend. Upon enquiring why our offer was rejected, we were told that without the ten US$ that these women earn daily, their children would starve.

We had to adjust the program to include daily pay to these women, milk Vocational Training for Syrian Refugees and clean water for their children, a daily meal for them and their children, and diesel to heat their tents. We also arranged transportation from the camp to JLSS and back. All this was possible with a kind grant from our partners in Germany EMS (Evangelical Mission in Solidarity).

The program started on Monday 3 February 2014. The women initially thought that they are being tricked into doing hard work in JLSS. They slowly realized that we only want to help them.

Ten women are following this program. They arrive with their children every school day, Mondays to Fridays. They come with fourteen children from six months to three years old.

We divided the women into two groups with five women in each group. Five of them take sewing lessons on a day while the other five look after the children in a sort of a day-care center. The next day they exchange duties, and the group that cared for the children the previous day takes the sewing lessons, while the others looks after the children.

Vocational Training for Syrian Refugees We provided the women with a flat on campus which is heated and has hot water. We provided them with soap, shampoo, and towels in order to shower and bathe their children as needed. We also provided the children who are of Kindergarten age with Arabic, English, and Arithmetic books used for KG classes at JLSS. We chose an educated person in every group to be the teacher for the children. We also provided them with the teaching material they needed.

We hope and pray that this pilot project will be successful. We praise God that Schneller School is able to continue its mission to provide help to the most vulnerable groups in society.

We express our most sincere gratitude to our German partners EMS for providing us with the necessary funds for this project. We also thank the Schneller Board for its support of this very important project.

Schneller School Name in Arabic
Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule

Education for Peace since 1860