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Education heals traumatized refugee children

International (MNN) – The UNHCR recently reported that 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced from their home.

“It’s a very alarming number,” Tent Schools International’s Emily Klooster says.

“It’s the highest number in the organization’s history of UNHCR. Wars, violence, and persecution is what is driving these people from their homes. It’s twice as many people as 20 years ago, and it’s greater than the population of the country of Thailand.”

Refugee and IDP Crises

Approximately half of the refugees are children, and the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) continuously grow as refugee crises constantly break out around the world.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya people have fled Myanmar since 2015 due to persecution.

About 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled their country because of the economic crisis and gang-related violence.

Millions have fled their homes in the Middle East and North Africa due to war and terrorism.

Some refugees or internally displaced people have lived in refugee camps for years, others are living in apartments, houses, or even on the streets temporarily or permanently.

“In the Becca Valley area, many of these families, and these children, and the parents are literally living in tents in refugee camps. Some of them have been able to move outside of the refugee camp because there can be some safety issues in the camp,” Klooster says.

“But they still [are] very limited in their resources, educational and otherwise, whether they’re living in the camp or outside of them.”

For many refugees who have been settled in one area for years, they have stopped looking at the present as much as they had when they were initially forced to flee, and have started looking to the future – their future and their children’s future.

Education that Heals

(Photo courtesy of Tent Schools International via Facebook)

Klooster says one of the best ways to give a hopeful future and come alongside families trapped in these situations is through the provision of education. Education provides the knowledge and tools needed to work towards a promising future, and it helps heal children who have been traumatized.

In April, the New York Times reported that trauma can cause lasting health issues, including social anxiety, depression, addiction, cardiovascular disease, brain development, and more.

However, stories and education are addressing the issues of trauma that children have and helping them to overcome their fears, preventing long-term health effects.

Tent Schools’ partners are working in schools and, “the partners we work with always have it in mind that they are working with children who have been through an incomprehensible amount of pain and trauma,” Klooster says.

She says they have seen the healing of students through storytelling, reading books, and singing songs.

Tent Schools’ partners choose books, stories, Bible stories, and songs carefully so kids can identify and relate with them and feel less alone.

“The schools we are currently partnering with, they both employ those healing approaches to education with the kids that experience the trauma. They listen to the kids’ stories as well, and they allow the children to express themselves in various ways.”

This expression is often accomplished through kids’ own story telling, through art, through physical education classes, and through other subjects that are important to their academic development.

With these tactics, kids are able to deal with trauma, cope with it on a day to day basis, and heal.

Tent Schools’ partners – Good Shepherd Center and Warm Heart – are employing compassionate approaches and offer healing as well as spiritual development by holding morning devotional periods and by loving students.

Get Involved

Together, they are helping about 120 students, but, with your help, they can support more.

Klooster says the best way to get involved is becoming a monthly donor so partners can rely on constant support.

Your support can initiate the healing of trauma and remind children and families that there is hope for the future.

Start your monthly sponsorship here and pray for the 70.8 million refugees worldwide who need resources, prayer, and hope.

Header photo courtesy of Tent Schools International.

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