Bridge Stars!

We are proud of our students, Mahmoud Al Housary and Nour Rmied, who attended their first White Coat Ceremony after completing the first year of Medicine at Yeditepe University!

Mahmoud and Nour received scholarships to study Medicine at Yeditepe in Istanbul.  They are pursuing their dreams after their unrelenting efforts in high school and commitment to education. Their hard work and success is definitely proof that anything is possible!

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Increasing Opportunities for Higher Education

The spring brought new growth for the Bridge Program. 445 currently enrolled students began their spring semester, continuing to serve as inspiration to future university applicants in their communities. Another 255 new scholarship applicants have knocked on our doors, full of hope and ready to take advantage of the opportunity that Bridge provides to pursue higher education. The Bridge team has been providing academic counseling, application support and scholarship matching in order to help these students, who come from refugee and underprivileged backgrounds, remember that everyone has the right to education.

As the number of Bridge students grows, so do the opportunities available to them. ULYP was invited to attend the Education City Regional Counselors Program (ECRCP) organized by the Qatar Foundation in January. ECRP gave the Bridge Team the chance to connect with university admissions offices, foundations and other counseling professionals in order to better support future applicants and Bridge students currently attending university in Qatar.

Student Spotlight – Malak, TLC Code Club

Malak started TLC Code Club in February with very little exposure to computers or the English language. Her education has been interrupted since her family fled their home in Syria, but she has sought out opportunities to continue studying even outside the formal system. TLC Code Club has been an exciting opportunity for her to learn about computers and coding for the first time. Although Malak initially found it challenging to work with the Kano Kits, her persistence and excitement to learn meant she never gave up. With the support of her peers and the TLC team, Malak is already much more confident and skillful when using computers. This opportunity to not just access a computer, but to learn how it is built and how to code, is “life-changing,” as she describes it!

Coding & Caring

Building each other up: according to our TLC participants, “That’s just what girls do.” Through a series of coding and computing workshops, 100 middle-school girls transform from computer novices into aficionadas, becoming familiar with both hardware and software. They study the fundamentals of coding, then convert their new knowledge into making art, music, logos and virtual worlds. The girls also apply their lessons to the real, ‘offline’ world – for example, by realizing how following exact instructions helps avoid missteps!

 

TLC Code Club empowers girls by exposing them to and training them in a cutting-edge field from which they are often excluded, boosting their ambition, confidence, conflict-resolution and creativity. Expert sessions reinforce these skills and emphasize celebrating diversity and staying healthy through good body image, nutrition and exercise. Just as importantly, the girls balance their many accomplishments with supporting and appreciating each other!

TLC Code Club is funded by TheirWorld.

G is for Goat!

Rain or shine, HAPPY students kept warm hearts and minds through a changing winter. 100 children inaugurated our new preschool, where they enjoyed learning new letters and vocabulary, engaging with classic children’s tales and exploring their creative sides! Students began and ended each day with a joyful song and dance, and practiced cooperation and healthy behaviors at snack time and recess.

This season, students particularly enjoyed reading their own books on the carpet or exploring outside. Using goats eating grass to demonstrate the letter G was a particular hit! Their teachers also appreciated learning new teaching methods which they are eager to implement back in their own classrooms.

HAPPY is run in partnership with United Palestinian Appeal.

Sharing Joy

A new year means a new semester of SHARE! With its different components, SHARE continues to be true to its name: Spreading Hope and Reviving Education. This semester, a new cohort of students joined the sports and arts component of the program and were excited by the various activities they have engaged in so far. In addition to playing basketball and football, the students enjoyed art, drama and circus classes to explore their creative sides.

 

SHARE also welcomed students back to its English component, where they continued to learn and discover in the positive, supportive environment they have built together. Beyond improving their English, SHARE students have formed strong friendships and shown great personal growth. Students ventured on a field trip to the circus for the first time ever, where Circ-en-ciel put on an impressive performance to the delight of the students. One group also attended a Science class at the American Community School Beirut (ACS) where they collaborated with their peers from ACS to conduct chemical and biological experiments relating to density, volume, lung capacity and more.

The parents of the SHARE children support the program and participate in awareness sessions on supporting the education and development of their children.

SHARE is funded by Foundation Beit Jiddi.

Change Starts with Education

ULYP’s newest program, CHANGE, builds on the lessons learned and best practices we have extracted from our work opening doors through education.

CHANGE works with 75 Palestinian refugees from Syria and Syrian refugees currently in grade 12, working to unlock potential and supporting them through the door to higher education successfully. Over the course of two semesters, the CHANGE students engage in intensive English courses, soft skills training, university counseling and assistance with university applications.

The program team conducted an extensive community outreach activity, interviewed over 100 potential candidates and selected the final 75 who exhibited enthusiasm for investing their time and energy to improve their situations. The participants come from 15 schools located between Beirut and Saida. The program was launched in February and very quickly a culture of cohesion and motivation was established. The students made friends, found commonalities and supported one another to reach a higher standard of English. The students show commitment to their education, to the program and to themselves, their peers and their teachers. Although the program is still new, we are already noticing the change. With every class we hear more English and witness the unlocking of more potential. The program’s slogan says it all: Change starts with education.

CHANGE is in partnership with The Asfari Foundation.

Another Year of Happy Faces

With leaves falling and the weather changing, our HAPPY preschool program was packed with activities. The 112 children engaged during this period explored the world around them and learned about hygiene and healthy nutrition along with math, English and outdoor activities. Songs were sung from the top of their lungs, stories were read and acted out and the smiles and laughter during class were contagious!

As always at ULYP, we concluded the program with a Training of Trainers (TOT) designed to sustain the change and expand the opportunity for more children to experience the learning that HAPPY promotes. The teachers from participating preschools attended the session focusing on methodologies, theories and practices to increase math and literacy essentials in their own programs. After the training, teachers understood that one story can be read in many ways and for different learning purposes. One said, “I can’t wait to do a shared reading with my students to get them more engaged and speaking in English in class!”

This season concludes a year of HAPPY in partnership with UNICEF and Taawon Lebanon, within the Support Early Childhood Education Development Program. We look forward to learning with more HAPPY faces in the new year.

Ever Seen a Rainbow go Full Circle?

Above and beyond the interactive and specialized English tuition that characterizes the Rainbow program, our students engaged in a multitude of thematic life skills workshops that enforced their learning and broadened their horizons. Exploring the importance of environmental awareness through planting seeds in repurposed water bottles, learning about the various cultures of the world through music, food, and languages, and disseminating hygiene education by presenting group posters are examples just some of the interactive and holistic workshops that transformed the students’worlds and typified this semester’s Rainbow.

With smiles and positivity abound, we witnessed our students grow and learn with the content of Rainbow. Field trips saw them exercise proper basketball and football techniques and gave them a platform upon which to enforce and practice their team building, communication and respect skills. The Rainbow has truly gone full circle and we, as teachers, have not been left out – we have also learned and grown alongside our students.

This semester concludes the Rainbow program that started a year ago, and this semester has reflected what has been a beautiful year of holistic education, positive attitudes and smiling faces.

FLY with Flying Colors

The FLY program, For the Livelihood of Youth, was concluded in December with a touching closing ceremony to celebrate our beneficiaries’ achievements. The closing included testimonials from FLY participants, trainers from the LAU Continuing Education Program and the Malia Group.

The outcomes of the program were beyond the expectations of the partners, FLY participants and all involved. 100% of the FLY participants achieved working proficiency in the English on the TOEIC exam (Test of English for International Communication) and took this aptitude and sense of confidence with them into the internship component of the program. In challenging and stimulating internships, our FLY students honed their professional English and business skills and developed their confidence and independence. They are now equipped with the skills needed to successfully make the leap from education to work. Mabrouk to each and every FLY participant! FLY is implemented in partnership with Taawon-Lebanon and Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.