In 2012, National Evangelical Institute for Girls and Boys celebrated the School’s 150th anniversary of its foundation in 1862 as one of the oldest educational institutions in the region. This great success story can be traced to the vision of the early American founders of Sidon Evangelical School for Girls and Gerard Institute for Boys.
The Sidon Evangelical School for Girls (SESG) played a pioneering role in the education of women in the Middle East. The School started in a single house in old Sidon in 1862 before relocating in 1924 to its current and beautiful campus in the Greater Sidon City suburban town of Al Hara. The campus’s new construction included independent buildings and cottages. The buildings housed classrooms, an assembly area, a modern kitchen, a library, a sewing room, and laboratories. At that time, the school adopted Home Economics and Children Care curricula to prepare girls to become mothers and housewives. The cottages provided a caring family environment where girls lived under the guidance of caring and loving cottage mothers.
Parallel to the founding of the Sidon School for Girls, a school for boys was also founded by the early missionaries in a leased house in 1881. Despite numerous challenges and governmental regulations, American missionaries Rev. William Eddy and Dr. George Ford successfully led the march to establish the school which has become one of the educational pillars in the city of Sidon. In 1884, the School moved to its new location in the Greater Sidon suburban town of Miyeh w Miyeh, and was named Gerard Institute.
By 1904, Gerard Institute had become a pioneering school that offered both academic and technical training. The academic division offered regular courses under the direction of Dr. Ford, while the technical division offered training in carpentry, blacksmithing, sewing, shoe making, and construction, and was directed by Rev. William Eddy. Hence, the Arabic name of the school “Madrasat Al Fonoon”, which means “the School of Arts”, became the institution’s new name in Arabic.
Sidon Evangelical School for Girls and Gerard Institute for Boys were merged into one school in 1985 under the new name of National Evangelical Institute for Girls and Boys (NEIGB). Yet more than 150 years later, the School’s founding ideal remains the same. It lives in every classroom and is endorsed by teachers, staff and administrators whose only drive is to prepare students for a world in need of intelligent, responsible, enthusiastic, honest and compassionate leaders.