The Good Shepherd School, a Christian school for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon run by Church Mission Society partners Emil and Reem Bourizk and Phil and Sylvie Good, has opened its new building, a facility with space to serve its 140 students from struggling families.
The new Good Shepherd School building has space for eight classrooms, including a kindergarten for pre-school age children, kitchen facilities and staff accommodation.
Emil Bourizk, whose vision it was to start the school six years ago, said, “This new building is proof that God really does move mountains. It will go a long way to meeting the need we see all around us and bring hope to our community at this challenging time.”
The Good Shepherd School follows a traditional curriculum, teaching the children maths, Arabic, science and civics, French and English as well as arts and crafts.
In addition to core education the school also provides pastoral care and offers home visits to support the children, many of whom come from extremely challenging backgrounds.
Situated in the north of the country at Sakhra, near Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, the new school building has been converted from an unfinished derelict house.
Phil Good, who oversaw the building project, explained what was involved. He said, “The building we found was just bare breeze blocks but now with running water, electrics, toilets, doors and windows, and toilets added, it’s been transformed!”
The Good Shepherd School emanated from Emil and Reem’s vision to provide an education for children who otherwise would not have the means or opportunity to go to school.
Emil and Reem recalled: “Returning to Lebanon in 2014 after time abroad, we found our house was surrounded by Syrian families living in tents, with nobody to care for them. These refugees had no furniture, almost no food and some children didn’t even have shoes but we felt a call to help them.”
Together the couple began holding lessons in their home, before spilling over into their garage as more children joined.
Now the school caters for 140 children and their vision is to become an official registered school, demonstrating unconditional Christian love to a predominantly Muslim community in a harsh environment.