Youth for Christ in Lebanon has started a new ministry for Iraqi refugees, aiming to serve 13 to 17 year olds.

Since the 2003 war, Iraqi refugees, mostly Christians, have flooded into Lebanon. There are now at least 50,000 Iraqi refugees living in different areas of the country, depending on their religion and denomination. The Youth for Christ office is strategically located near a large community of Iraqi refugee families, in the Dekwaneh area.

Even though these young people go to public schools in Lebanon, the statistics indicate that 50% become school drop outs for because of coming from a simpler education system, studying all the school subjects in Arabic compared to the French or English options available in Lebanon, bullying from their classmates or the urgent need for money to help their families survive. Many of these young people end up working to bring an extra income to their family.

Youth for Christ has done an assessment of the needs of the Iraqi youth and discovered a high demand for English teaching. Most Iraqi families are in Lebanon for a transitional period. They don’t want to stay in Lebanon; they want to immigrate to the U.S., Canada or Australia. Since language would be a barrier in those countries, two ESOL classes began in April 2012: a beginners’ class and a more advanced one with about thirty students regularly attending.

Youth for Christ is seeking to continue these English classes and make them available for more students. The duration of the next program will be 8 months, from November 2012 until June 2013.

In addition to the educational program, Youth for Christ will begin a regular outreach program for the Iraqi youth, kicking off November 28th. These young Iraqi refugees need to have fun in a safe environment in order to overcome their traumatizing experiences. We aim to provide them with that safe place where they experience fellowship with their friends and Youth for Christ leaders, where they can enjoy a fun program consisting of games, activities, food and last but not least, a good Bible lesson.

With your help and support these Iraqi youth will have the opportunity to put their faith in Jesus and take Him with them wherever they go, in Lebanon and abroad.