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Seeking Refuge | Open Doors

Mar 15 2017

SEEKING REFUGE.
Caring for those in Refugee Camps and Informal Settlements
The Syrian conflict has caused the largest displacement crisis in the world. There are over 4.8 million refugees and 6.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs). Even if children and families have fled Syria to neighbouring countries, significant risks remain including restricted access to services, education and capacity to work. Host communities are stretched and many refugees are living in poverty without sufficient access to basic needs and services. At least half of Syria’s refugees are children (at least 2.4 million) and at least 306,000 children have been born as refugees. 2.9 million Syrian children under the age of 5 have grown up knowing nothing but conflict. Children are at high risk of distress which can impact their long term development. If childhood is informed by violence and conflict – at a time when their brains are developing the fastest, that is providing the foundations for adulthood so children are put at great risk in terms of their long term development. Children face severe restrictions to accessing formal education and the impact of lost schooling will impact heavily on a future Syrian society, with significant losses in productivity and potential lifetime incomes. More than 2.5 million Syrian children are missing out on school. The protective function of education is well documented. Improving access to education protects children’s cognitive, psychological, social and physical wellbeing. Children who go to school are less likely to be subjected to child labour or child marriage and are better equipped to face their uncertain futures.

Ensuring quality access for all refugee children is a difficult task and imposes a heavy burden on host governments. The governments of Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon have generously opened up their public school systems to Syrian refugee children by opening new schools, hiring more teachers and running double shifts in to create more classroom spaces. Yet, low levels of school enrolment for Syrian refugees persist across the region.

PROJECT PARTNER.
Open Doors have been working with local partners prior to the conflict, establishing a network of relationships, including with local churches, which meant they could respond quickly to support the needs of IDPs who were suddenly on the church’s doorsteps as conflict intensified in the region. Open Doors’ mission is to strengthen and prepare Christians living in persecution, and to mobilise the Australian church to identify with the global body of Christ. Open Doors works through local partners to build long term relationships in over 60 countries around the world. They partner with people who know and understand what is needed to see the church strengthened and the gospel proclaimed. Their mission is to help the local church transform their nation for Jesus.

THE PROJECTS.
Informal Education for Syrian Refugee Children, Lebanon
$50 AUD can provide one month of informal education for a Syrian refugee child. This project supports general schooling costs including running of the centres, paying staff salaries, and providing books and other resources.

PRAY.
Together we are praying for safety and protection of children and families who have been displaced from their homes and are seeking refuge in camps and informal settlements. We pray for healing from trauma, access to education and healthy development for children. We pray for compassionate responses from host countries and for displaced people to have access to services and employment opportunities. We pray for ongoing impact through the work of Open Doors and for local churches to continue to be the light of Jesus in dark places. We pray for hope to be maintained for peace in the region and so families can return home and rebuild.

LOCAL CHURCH AWARENESS.
If you are part of a local church we encourage you to be mindful of your local church vision and be sure to graciously submit and share your heart with those in leadership in your life. We believe we should see this as an ‘above and beyond’ endeavour that has the capacity to reach out and build bridges into our unchurched communities and ultimately be a blessing.

FUNDRAISE.
Check out our handy little tips on various ways to raise funds. Please see the financial guidelines document online for more practical information. Please note that if a project is completed we reserve the right to transfer any excess funds to another project.

TELL US YOUR STORY.
Send us an email at [email protected] as we would love to hear about how you did it!