Outlook 21
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Tackling poverty & creating futures in the Middle East
8 Tackling poverty & creating futures in the Middle East Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world. Malala Yousafzai For desperate and frightened Syrian refugee children, their biggest worry apart from the cold and where their next meal will come from is their schooling. ‘Without an education,’ they say, ‘what hope do we have?’ Many of them have not been to school since arriving in Lebanon several years earlier. This crisis has provoked a group of Lebanese Christians, supported by charity Embrace the Middle East, to establish a school for refugees in the Bekaa Valley. The school welcomes Muslims and Christians and employs Syrian teachers to teach the Arabic-based Syrian curriculum. Embrace is committed to providing education to refugee children, believing that education is the key to tackling poverty and creating hope in the Middle East. Not just a woman But this is just one of their projects. Embrace links up with local Christians throughout the Middle East, supporting a range of projects, but focusing on Education, Health, and Community Development – irrespective of the faith or nationality of those they support. Embrace's Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Nigel Varndell, tells of their community work in Egypt: ‘In January 2016, when I was visiting Embrace partner Think and Do in rural Egypt, I met a group of women who had been learning basic life skills. I asked the women what had been the biggest impact of their study, and Hana replied: “I used to be told that my opinions didn’t matter, that I am just a woman; but now I know I have the right to speak, and I am proud.” Yes, Hana had learnt skills that had improved her life in material ways. But the real change was that she had discovered that she mattered. Rather than being constantly told she was worthless, the classes had helped her discover her dignity, her pride, her sense of value as a human being’. Could you be a future-maker? It’s not difficult to feel overwhelmingly helpless on hearing the daily reports of desperate Middle Eastern refugees. But Embrace helps to create a future for one or two – and that’s something. Find out more on www.embraceme.org or call 01494-897950. Mary Hodge Educating Syrian refugee children in Lebanon