Lunch helps Syrian refugee children continue attending Jordanian school

Donations help Syrian refugees living in difficult conditions.

By Chris Huber and Lauren Fisher
Published December 9, 2013 at 11:00am PST

For 5-year-old Ahmad and his classmates at a World Vision-funded remedial education center in Irbid, Jordan, lunch is a big deal.

It’s the first meal of the day for many. And for some, it will be their only meal.

Many of the children at the center fled the violence in Syria with their families. Their families live on the margins, struggling to pay rent or buy water and food.

“The children are more focused; they’re better at school when they’ve eaten,” says Leila al-Sakji, director of the center. “Most of our students go to school immediately after they’re done here. So if they don’t eat here with us, they spend hours in the classroom on an empty stomach.”

Working to help

World Vision works with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as people displaced within Syria. The lunch program in Irbid is one of many efforts to provide Syrian refugees and their hosts with food, clean water, and safe spaces to learn and play.

As of December 2, more than 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria, and about 2.2 million have fled as refugees to neighboring countries. More than 1 million refugees are children, ­the United Nations says.

Syria’s first polio outbreak since it was last detected in 1999 is complicating aid efforts and driving some families deeper into despair.

Thanks to donors’ generosity, World Vision has been able to provide critical food supplies, livelihood support, educational and social activities, and health services for nearly 300,000 people in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

Increased needs

As winter weather sets in, donations will enable workers to provide heaters, fuel, winter clothes, and other necessities.

As many as 28,000 families in the three countries are slated to receive winterization kits. Depending on the location, a kit includes a heater, fuel, blankets, and cash to cover the cost of heating their homes or vouchers to buy winter clothing.

In Lebanon, World Vision has assisted more than 190,000 Syrian refugees and their resident hosts. Help includes provision of food vouchers, hygiene kits, and projects to improve access to clean water and sanitation.

World Vision is offering classes for Syrian children to facilitate their enrollment in Lebanese schools and providing supplementary classes for those already enrolled in school. The organization also runs Child-Friendly Spaces — safe areas where children can learn, engage in fun activities, and receive help to recover from emotional scars.

Aid efforts inside Syria are providing 70,000 people with clean water and primary healthcare services.

In Jordan, winter is upon the more than 110,000 refugees living at Za’atari, the country’s largest refugee camp. World Vision is gearing up to rehabilitate older, unpaved areas to prevent flooding and improve drainage and sanitation in case of heavy rainfall.

World Vision also provides refugee families outside the camp with basic supplies, such as food, household items, and cash to pay rent. The organization is scaling up its efforts to help more people, including host families, make ends meet.

Remedial classes and lunch programs throughout the region, like the one Ahmad attends, are helping children stay healthy and focused on learning in the midst of war and uncertainty.

Ways you can help

Pray for Ahmad, his family, and the millions of other people suffering as a result of this crisis. Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs, and keep them warm this winter in the cold temperatures.

Make a one-time donation to help provide for the needs of Syrian refugees. Your gift will help provide food vouchers, basic hygiene kits, and clean water for refugee families. You’ll also support Child-Friendly Spaces that provide vulnerable children with a safe place to play, learn, and recover from emotional scars. And as winter sets in, you’ll help provide refugees with stoves, fuel, and assistance to winterize their temporary shelters.