‘Teachers still give 100 per cent, even as the country disintegrates’
Wednesday, 10 November 2021
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The View from Here: Brummana High School in Lebanon continues to provide education as the country is forced to its knees, writes principal David Gray
I write to you from Lebanon and a country whose dramatic plight continues to be headline news. Quite frankly, so it should be. This disintegrating country offers little optimism for its population during these dark days but at Brummana High School, and thanks to supporters across the world, it can remain the important educational beacon of hope in a troubled country and region that it has been for nearly 150 years.
Predicted by the World Bank (in June) to be in the “top 3 worst financial crises since 1850,” the country is perilously close to disaster on a very large scale. The crumbling economy, political and social upheaval, August 4th 2020 Beirut explosion and Covid pandemic have forced individuals, families and communities to their knees. Without international support, the country once revered for banking, medicine, entertainment, nature and education may be little more than a forgotten speck on the globe.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic over the last 18 months, we have continued to provide a first class, British education largely online until this term for 1250 students of all backgrounds, all religions and practically all nationalities, here in the Lebanese mountains, 750 metres above Beirut.
Yet this beacon of hope now suffers at the hands of the devaluation of the local currency and rampant inflation. Community members are struggling on with over 90 per cent of the value of their incomes scrapped. Still teachers give 100 per cent to their charges. Still parents desperately try to ensure their children’s education does not waiver.
I feel privileged to lead this school and its community and am fully aware this could be arguably the most challenging period of its lifetime.
I also feel immensely fortunate to witness the great support the school has received and continues to receive through the remarkable school community worldwide, of Old Scholars, Parents, Quakers and Friends.
In a country with such a sparse state education system, the non-profit Brummana High School has filled the gap for so many families over generations, and for so many communities and nationalities. The school continues to teach the Quaker values of individuality, service, tolerance, respect, peaceful resolution and environmental stewardship. A quality education provides three elements: the relief of poverty; the conferring of human dignity; and the basis of democracy. All three elements are needed in Lebanon right now and all three elements in a Brummana education.
The support the school is receiving comes in many different formats yet the most pressing is financial: to provide a living wage to teachers (staff hardship) and to ensure no student is left behind by the crisis (bursaries).
If you wish to join our British Quaker Trustees, Old Scholars, Parents and Friends worldwide please do consider joining for BHS Gives, the school’s giving day campaign.
The development office, several members of the school community and I are very busy preparing right now for BHS Gives scheduled for 2nd/3rd December.
Supporters are able to donate in multiple ways, but perhaps the simplest is through Just Giving. Please contact me directly if you wish to receive updates for the event at firstname.lastname@example.org. In giving you will help guarantee the education and lives of hundreds, and hope and optimism for thousands. Thank you to all Brummana High School supporters past, present and future.
I wish the educational community well as we begin to approach the end of the year and the Christmas festive season.
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