Being a special needs child is very challenging in Lebanon. There is a cultural taboo about having a child or being a child with special needs. As well, there are very few institutions or services o ered to children with special needs within the public or private education systems. The result is that these children are o en misunderstood and marginalized within their own culture because schools refuse to enroll them.
The staff at the SKILD Centre in Mansourieh el Maten always seek to show the love of Jesus through the services they offer, their positive attitude and the transparency by which they operate. SKILD has earned a good reputation in the community due to the positive testimony of people who have benefitted from the program.
The call for improvements to special needs education in Lebanon has garnered support from across a spectrum of fields, including from the Ministry of Education and all the major faith-based educational institutions in Lebanon. Many students with learning difficulties were identified as in need of help during SKILD’s screening of Lebanese public schools in 2014. To enable SKILD to assist them, they launched a training program in June 2015. Approximately 120 teachers and administrators from seven public schools have taken part in two-day training workshops that were held at various locations over a two-week period. Those attending represented schools from six different districts in Lebanon.
The workshops tackled a number of issues concerning students with learning difficulties including dealing with emotional and behavioural disorders, identifying oral communication challenges, finding signs of academic difficulties in language and math, and creating strategies to help overcome them. The response from teachers was very positive, with the workshops rated highly for being relevant, easy to understand and having knowledgeable facilitators in a survey carried out afterwards.
How the Project Works
Says Rebecca Boutros, Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development’s Program Officer, “When we make a difference in someone’s life, they go and tell about it. We were able to reach out to many children and families in different parts of Lebanon, different geographic areas and different religions. In the past three years, we have seen more than 2,000 children and were able to serve this number and their families. In parallel, the mere fact that we are working with a segment of the community that is marginalized and not accepted by others, is a reflection of our Christian values.”