Saint Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Cultural and Educational Center
Since 2017, the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut has been providing schooling for refugee children aged 4 to 15 in the free extracurricular center of the Saint Thomas the Apostle Educational Center, located in Sabtieh-Baouchrieh, in the district of Metn-Mount Lebanon, in the northeast suburbs of Beirut, where most of the 2,500 Iraqi Christian families live.
The main objective of the project is to provide education to the most vulnerable refugee children living in Lebanon, with missing proper school documentations and not integrated into the Lebanese school system, in a safe environment to protect them from the dangers of child labor and delinquency.
At the beginning in 2017-2018, the project was based on a small scale of four classes and 100 students, which needed only 10 teachers.
In 2018-2019 the center went to five classes of 150 students and 12 teachers.
During the 2019-2020, the center has grown to six classes of 220 students and 15 teachers,
Unfortunately, in the mid of the 2019-2020 school year, the center was obliged to close due to Covid 19 Pandemic.
Currently, the Center is preparing for the post-pandemic 2020-2021 school year.
Today, we are proud that the Saint Thomas the Apostle Educational Center consists of six classrooms, a hall for various activities, also serving as a playground for Preschool and Primary classes, another playground for Junior and Youth classes , a small kitchen and four bathrooms. The academic year is made up of ten working months, from the beginning of September to the end of July.
The curriculum is a Lebanese school curriculum, adopted by the Jesuit College of Our Lady of Jamhour and the School of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary of Achkout.
The 220 children aged 4 to 15 are divided into six classes by age group:
Preschool 1: ages 3-4 years / Preschool 2: ages 5-6 years
Primary 1: ages 7-8 years / Primary 2: ages 9-10 years
Junior class: ages 11-12 years / Youth class: ages 13-15 years
A team of 23 persons, from the Lebanese and the refugee communities, with good educational background (Baccalaureate and University graduates), manages the Center.
The Center insures safe and free transportation for students, and offers them daily free morning snacks.
The Center also offers free afternoon English literacy classes for young people (ages 8-14), adolescents (ages 14-18) and adults (ages 18 and over), as well as Vocational Training for adults, (makeup, hairdressing, carpentry, electromechanical, electricity, mechanical engineering, plumbing, cooling and heating, nursing, etc.), in cooperation with international and local associations.
On Saturdays, the Center offers free extracurricular activities, such as life skills classes, various manual activities for children aged 4 to 14 (drawing, dancing, music and singing lessons, etc.).
In addition, during the summer period, the center organizes several camps and activities during the months of July, August and September and this in cooperation with international and local associations specializing in children’s activities.
All these educational and social activities and much more like leisure excursions and sport trips were done thanks to God blessing and the generosity of donors.
This support will make us continue our path toward educating children (out of nothing), giving them educational and psychosocial support towards their new life in the (painfully waited host countries), where all of them on day hopefully will be settled in a new respectable homeland.