Tent Schools International is Raising Funds to Build Secondary School to Give Iraqi Refugee Children a Future and Healing from Trauma

(Photo courtesy of Tent Schools International via Facebook)

Tent Schools International is in the middle of its giving campaign. During this year’s campaign, the ministry wants to focus on raising funds for a secondary school for displaced Iraqi youth in Jordan.

Displaced Iraqi Youth in Jordan

Tent Schools is partnering with the Good Shepherd Center to serve 117 Iraqi refugee kids whose families fled their homes due to ISIS activity. Unfortunately, they do not have refugee status in Jordan, and if things stay that way, the traumatic experiences these kids experienced will reap destructive consequences.

Tent Schools’ Executive Director Emily Klooster says statistically, refugee kids are at higher risk of destructive habits such as suicide and depression. They are also more easily lured into a life of extremism.

To make a bad situation worse, since many of these kids are without refugee status, they are often unable to attend public schools in Jordan. Furthermore, these kids and their families face cruel biases in their country of refuge.

“A lot of times these kids are bullied by kids who have been born and [have] grown up in Jordan their whole lives. They’re ostracized a bit, [both] their families as well as the kids once they’re in class, so our partner is a church that came in and established this school for them,” Emily Klooster says.

Need for Secondary School

Tent Schools’ partners in Jordan, particularly the Good Shepherd Center, know how to best serve displaced Iraqi families. They understand the political and religious landscape and how to respectfully navigate the culture while having conversations about Christ in a safe and sensitive way.

“Our partners are trained to deal with the special challenges of children who’ve experienced trauma. They really provide a lot of trauma-informed, informed services for the kids. These are all options that these kids would not be receiving in a public-school setting,” Klooster explains.

However, this help ends when kids reach secondary school. Currently, there are no secondary school options for Iraqi children unable to attend public school. This prevents them from attending college and potentially gaining both work and life skills to help them build a healthy, productive life.

These older kids, in the absence of education…risk long term psychological effects of untreated traumatic experiences that they may still be dealing with as they as they get older. They risk falling into destructive habits like drugs and alcohol abuse. They are definitely at a higher risk, having been displaced, of depression, suicide, not being able to see a path out” Klooster explains.

“Finally, they do risk being pulled in by extremists to try to convert them into things like ISIS activity back in their home country if they feel lost. In Jordan, there is that chance that they could be pulled back into a situation in Iraq with extremist if they feel there’s no other option for them in their future.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Bethann Flynn