Syrian refugee children robbed of their childhood and traumatized by the war and terror around them are finding healing in a playground set up by a Christian organization.
A Christian ministry based in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley recently provided a large, heavy-duty playground for refugee children, many of whom have psychological disorders as a result of the violence they have seen or suffered.
"It is their right to play and recapture their lost childhood, which was our main objective for installing a nice, heavy-duty playground at the community center," the ministry director told Christian Aid Mission. "We believe that this project is a great tool to help children recover from trauma and improve their state of well-being."
The ministry director added, "This playground will provide these kids with a nice, safe space for fun, recreation, and learning through play, as well as building self-confidence and creativity."
In addition to the playground, the ministry provides a "tent school" for 120 refugee children, providing them with skills that will brighten their future.
An 8-year-old girl displaced from Daraa, Syria said she was very happy to attend school every day: "I love to learn, and I love mostly mathematics," she said. "I love coming here, because I have the chance to play with my friends. When I grow up, I want to become a medical doctor. I want to be able to help people have a healthy life."
The ministry has another 160 children enrolled in classes from kindergarten to grade five at a tent school in another area, and it has enabled another 270 children to attend Beqaa Valley Mission School.
"Education is very essential in times of emergencies, so our aim is to enroll more students into our programs," the director said. "We have a long waiting list of students, but currently our resources are limited, and places are not available."
A new study by Save the Children, based on more than 450 interviews with adults and children across the country, reveals that six years of Syrian war have left children with massive invisible scars.
According to the report, researchers found widespread evidence of 'toxic stress' and mental health issues among children inside Syria. About half of children "say they never or rarely feel safe at school and 40 percent say they don't feel safe to play outside, even right outside their own home.... 78 percent of children feel grief and extreme sadness some or all of the time."
To combat this, the ministry also provides much-needed medical, physical, psychological and spiritual care to refugee children and their families. Volunteers introduce the refugees to the Bible in 30 small groups meeting in homes, tents or at a church building.
The ministry director revealed that as an increasing number of refugees embrace Christianity, the organization has developed a discipleship curriculum to equip them and give them a deeper understanding of the gospel.
"The curriculum for these lessons is developed in a way that makes it easy for people who come from a non-Christian background to be able to easily follow and understand these lessons," the director said. "Many of these may either return back to their homes or immigrate. We want to make sure that they have enough tools to stand strong in their Christian faith in the face of any difficulties that they may encounter."
To learn how you can support Christian ministries providing relief to Syrian refugees, click here.