Our 2015 Annual Appeal raised £34,000 for the exciting project getting underway in Lebanon. Already underway in two state schools the pilot project will not only transform the immediate prospects of many children with learning differences but – we believe – will help change the cultural context for the wider community of children with mental and physical challenges.

John Earwicker said: “We are so grateful to the two sponsors who guaranteed to match our supporters donations.  This has drawn a huge response from MAI friends that has surpassed any previous Appeal.  Thank you so much.

Nabil Costa, the founder of the SKILD ministry (Special Kids with Individual Learning Differences), and his wife had adopted a child who developed learning difficulties. Searching but finding no school in Lebanon or the Middle East that could help their son, Nabil says: “I found many parents heartbroken and many kids without a future.”

John Earwicker explains: “I visited Lebanon for myself in February 2015 and was deeply impressed by the compassionate yet professional care that the SKILD team offer and moved by seeing the impact of working with such children, sadly something that is offered in just a few expensive private schools.”

“Lebanon, mental health and learning difficulties are all new areas for MAI. But we felt compelled to help for three reasons.”

First, Lebanon is under huge pressure with a massive influx of Syrian refugees, many of whom will benefit from this pilot project.

Second, these needy children have been ignored for too long; not only will this project change their lives but it has the potential to challenge the prevailing culture.

Third, it is likely that our relatively small investment for the next two years – £120,000 – will leverage much larger sums from Lebanese entrepreneurs or foreign governments when the pilot demonstrates the value of continuing such work in many more public schools in Lebanon.”