Our students are hard at work in the Change program developing their English skills and expanding their horizons through discussions on topics that range from modern art to life skills to respect. This summer has been lively, and we have seen great improvement and growth overall in both English performance and confidence – skills that will enable them to become positive change makers in their communities.
This summer, Change students engaged in a unit surrounding the book Who Moved My Cheese, a motivational short story about the consequences of not being able to adapt to life’s changes. Students used the book’s themes to reflect on their own life situations and how they can better adapt to changes occurring around them. As one student said during a class discussion, “Change is the only constant in life.” We are excited about how adept and eager our youth are and remain proud of their commitment to improving their own lives and thus, the lives of those around them.
Change is a component of the program ULYP is implementing in partnership with the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund targeting the secondary age students. Change will continue for one more year and graduate its 300 participants in August 2020.
To start off 2019, we are delighted to announce that we will be continuing our work with the Asfari Foundation, who have agreed to support capacity building at ULYP. Most of our funding is directed towards our external projects, so it is wonderful to have the opportunity to build the organization from within and improve the way we deliver our services. This project will improve the ULYP services in five areas. First, ULYP is excited to announce that a new space is being developed at our office that will serve as a training and teaching venue for future activities. This will save on rental costs and make us a more independent training provider. Also, a student management system is being created that will allow ULYP to store, monitor and evaluate student data more efficiently. Third, an online BRIDGE application system will be introduced. Both of these online systems will save students and ULYP staff time and effort, and increase efficiency. The fourth component of the Asfari Foundation grant will cover the cost of hiring a Monitoring & Evaluation specialist to consult with ULYP on a part time basis, over three years. This will help ULYP measure, analyze and evaluate the efficacy of our programs and continue to improve our services going forward. Finally, this fund will support some of the needs of the Change alumni as they pursue their undergraduate degrees. This support is vital in ensuring that marginalized students are not discouraged from continuing their university studies by the cost of living, and can achieve their dream of graduation. Overall, the Asfari Foundation partnership will be vital in ensuring that we continue to grow as an organization and improve the way we support our beneficiaries.
“I thought it would be very hard, but quickly realized that coding and programming are so simple, especially with all the help and support that I was lucky to have. It helps us in any field we wish to pursue” Malak H., 15 years
“I didn’t expect it to be that interesting for me!” Nour I., 13 years
ULYP is pleased to announce that the partnership with TheirWorld is back for the third year in a row. In 2015, when ULYP piloted its first ever coding program to females only, the project document started as follows: To code or not to code is not a question to ask. The future is coding and the future starts now. “Coding is a new literacy, and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world.” (Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube and early Google employee). Since then, ULYP has implemented the program supported by different donors, scaling it up to be more effective and impactful. As of 2017, when ULYP partnered with TheirWorld for the first time, the program morphed into the TLC Code Clubs and now follows the curriculum developed by TheirWorld. The implemented joint program continues to validate that coding is not only a much-needed technological skill; it is also a tool used to foster creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication and other personal attributes that are all byproducts of the TLC Code Clubs. The participants in the TLC Code Clubs 2019 are 150-156 females, aged 10-15, from underprivileged and refugee communities living in Lebanon. Stay tuned!
In September, CHANGE welcomed its students to our campus for the last time! This brilliant project was a perfect example of how our work supports the ambitions of young people living in Lebanon.
Since the beginning of 2018, CHANGE has been working with 75 Syrian and Palestinian refugees, from Syria and Lebanon, in Grade 12, to unlock their potential and increase their chances of pursuing higher education. Over the course of two semesters the CHANGE students engaged in intensive English courses and soft skills training. They were also offered college guidance counseling and assistance with their university applications. We are proud of the achievements of the CHANGE students and confident that they will leverage their newly developed skills for their success in the future.
CHANGE is in partnership with The Asfari Foundation.
The SHARE (Spreading Hope & Reviving Education) program for the children, youth and communities residing in and around the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut, ended on a high this summer.
204 children took part in the program’s sports and art activities, the most we have ever had! And after completing the semester successfully, the SHARE students hosted two events to bring the community together: a sporting event where three teams from the Shatila camp went head-to-head in a competitive basketball and football tournament, and an exhibition showcasing the student’s upcycled pieces of art for all to see.
Intensive English classes were also held throughout the summer. This part of the program hosted 80 children at our center in Shatila and on our beautiful campus in Dibbiyeh where the participants have access to a recently built basketball court and a football field. These students worked hard throughout the summer, investing their time to learning English beyond their school education and preparing themselves for the upcoming academic year. To end the semester with a memorable event we took our English learners to the great outdoors in Arnaoon village. There, many discovered the thrill of zip lining, the freedom of mountain biking, the serenity of being in nature and much more.
Following the success of this summer, we are proud to announce that SHARE will be back for another semester this fall. A big thank you to the Beit Jiddi Foundation who will once again give us the opportunity to spread hope and revive education. See you soon!
“It’s inspiring, motivating, and fun!” One of the girls commented when asked about her experience with TLC, the Together Let’s Code program, in collaboration with TheirWorld’s Code Clubs. Throughout a series of coding sessions, middle-school girls had the chance to become more familiar with computers, including learning all about hardware and software. They were able to write their own programs; coding a piece of art, and even a piece of music! The girls also learned how to integrate the basic concepts of coding into their daily lives, such as how keeping it simple and following exact instructions allows us to organize parts of our lives.
TLC Code Club not only provides computer programming knowledge, but it also inspires the girls, improving their self-confidence, team building and creativity. Expert sessions fortify and strengthen these skills and draw attention to ideas like the celebration of diversity, nourishing and taking care of our bodies, nutrition and mental health. The girls really enjoyed the activities and supported each other throughout.
This has been the busiest ever summer for the Bridge Program; we celebrated the graduation of 84 students, matched over 110 new students starting university with scholarships, and engaged 160 potential scholarship students in our University Preparation Course (UPC). We’re growing at a pace we couldn’t have ever imagined.
For the 6th year running, eight volunteers from Duke University participated in the DukeEngage Program in Lebanon. The volunteers provided additional SAT preparation to our UPC students.
SAT preparation is just one part of our students’ lengthy university application process. Over the next two years, these students will be given college guidance and counselling, before being matched with donors and funding for Universities in Lebanon and across the world.
A special thanks to Dr. Maha Al Houssami and Julia Daley from the DukeEngage Programs and the wonderful Duke students for their invaluable contribution to UPC 2018.
Over 110 students, the intake of 2018 – 2019, just crossed the bridge into their universities in Lebanon and abroad. This could not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, staff, and volunteers.
Applications for the Bridge Program will open in October 2018 and is open to all. Here’s to another year of students having access to higher education!
84 students graduated from the Bridge program this year. Our bright Bridge Program participants celebrated their graduation from university, bringing the number of Bridge alumni to 411.
The ceremony was magical, tearful, sentimental and inspiring. The president of Lebanese American University, Dr. Joseph Jabbra, delivered a moving keynote speech filled with words of encouragement and enlightenment.
We are excited to announce that ULYP has recently partnered with the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, for a three-year program starting September 1st. This partnership builds on our experience with the CHANGE and BRIDGE programs and makes it possible for ULYP to scale up these programs and reach out to a larger number of beneficiaries. The project has two main components. The first will support Palestinian and Syrian refugee youth with remedial English classes and prepare them for enrolment in Tertiary Education. The students will also engage in soft skills workshops, career counselling and support with applying for university. This component will be implemented in three areas around Lebanon and will build on lessons learned and best practices extracted from ULYP’s CHANGE program and our university preparatory courses.
The second component will provide scholarships and/or co-fund university education for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and certificates in Lebanon and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus for 210 students. The project will also track our students and support them throughout their university studies.
Overall, this project is going to reach over 500 refugee youth in Lebanon and help transform their educational and economic opportunities.
ULYP is delighted to announce that the LIFE project is back! LIFE stands for Learn, Inspire, Focus, Engage, and is funded by Taawon/Lebanon. Between September 2018 and June 2019, LIFE will support the learning of 70 children and 35 parents from the Haifa School in Beirut, Lebanon. This program is aimed towards children at risk of dropping out, changing the way they think about education and encouraging them to stay in school. This will be achieved through English language and life skills lessons.
Building on the success of SKILLS FOR LIFE, the original LIFE program recently won the ‘Ockenden International Prize for Refugee Projects’. This award was given as recognition of “innovative work that has promoted self-reliance among refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs)”. It is so exciting to have the opportunity to impact the lives of more children and parents in this way. Taking what we have learnt from previous LIFE programs, and all our other educational experiences, this cycle of LIFE will be the biggest and best yet. The children involved in the program will therefore not only improve their English, but also improve their chances of completing secondary and tertiary education.
This August, the HAPPY program (Happy Alternative Program for Pre-schoolers and Youth) was in full force, working with 24 children, aged four and five. The program’s learning activities focused on English, maths, art and a lot of outdoor time. The HAPPY program approaches the children as active learners, and engages them in an interactive and immersive learning experience, using stories, songs, art, and activities to support the children’s development.
With all activities taught in English, children developed a good foundation for learning the language in the coming years. It was also an opportunity for the children and teachers to experience a more interactive and hands-on style of learning. The children showed a huge improvement in confidence levels and really enjoyed the variety of activities covered. The wonderful facilities at the campus were perfect for fun in the sun, with lots of time spent in the playground and a final day in a paddling pool! On the last day, the children also received a book bag with paints, paintbrushes, toothpaste and a toothbrush. These gifts are useful for Grade 1 and gave everyone an opportunity to practice the art skills they learnt during the program. They also help ensure that the children are maintaining their oral health; an issue that was also discussed on the ULYP campus.
In addition to all this, ULYP hosted a teacher-training day entitled ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Early Childhood Development’. Sixteen teachers from HAPPY pre-schools across Lebanon attended and increased their ability to support the mental, physical and cognitive development of the children in their care. This project therefore not only improved the lives of the children attending the class, but also of the countless children that will be under the care of these teachers in the future.