Children at Risk
We focus intentionally on children, ages 5-13, who are referred to as the “Lost Generation.” 52% of the over 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. These children have seen and experienced horrible things in their young lives and most of them have been out of school for several years. Without an education they will not develop the intellectual or vocational capacity and character necessary to find and keep a stable job in the future. These are the “lost generation” that often become prime targets for radical groups to exploit. It’s our privilege to help shape the thinking of this generation with great academics and a Biblical worldview.
Where We Serve Children at Risk
In Beirut, Heart for Lebanon is serving Syrian and Iraqi refugee families currently displaced and residing in poorer areas of the city. In addition, we serve at-risk Lebanese students in the city, many of whom come from difficult family backgrounds and are unable to afford to go to school.
Within the Bekaa Valley, Heart for Lebanon works with Syrian refugees from a variety of religious backgrounds. In Zahle, a Christian district within the Bekaa Valley, we work with Syrian refugee families including Armenian Christians, Assyrian Christians, Evangelical Christians, as well as Catholic and Maronite Christians.
Among the Muslim families we serve in the Bekaa Valley, all are currently residing in tent settlements that have been established on fields and farming land. In these make-shift communities, we minister to children from the Turkmen and Syrian communities through our Children at Risk Initiative’s Non-Formal Education Program, which provides basic education to children who have not been in school for months or years because of their circumstances.
It is very important to note that many of these families are Christian in their legal identity only (i.e. their identification given by the government lists their religion as the religion that has been passed down through their family). This status does not necessarily reflect a heart-knowledge of Jesus Christ or the Gospel. Our goal is to serve everyone, no matter their identity or background so that we may share the Gospel at the appropriate time.
In Southern Lebanon, Heart for Lebanon serves Syrian refugees currently residing there from both Christian and Muslim backgrounds. We also care for Bedouin and Gypsy families through our Children at Risk Initiative at local schools, with vocational training, Bible studies and regular visitation.