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.
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.
ULYP is very excited to continue its partnership with United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) who is partially funding a second module of SAWA (Strengthening Amity With the Arts) this year. Between October and December 2013, 25 disadvantaged Palestinian children joined with 25 underprivileged Lebanese children to take part in a varied arts program.
The children focused on theatre including making their own short improvised pieces, and interpreting classic fairy tales. Children did many individual and group art pieces based around the theme of community, and took part in arts and crafts activities including making decorative jars, picture frames and flowers. The children enjoyed team building and problem solving games, which helped them to develop social skills such as team work, cooperation, perseverance and problem solving. As arts and drama are often neglected in public schools in Lebanon, SAWA gives children a much needed creative outlet and a chance develop their imagination, to learn to express their opinions and respect the ideas of others.
On the last day of SAWA, the teachers held an evaluation session where children were asked questions about the program, and were encouraged to answer freely and discuss. Some of the questions were:
1. How did you feel on the first day of SAWA, and how do you feel now?2. What is something new you discovered about yourself during SAWA?3. What could ULYP do to improve the SAWA program?
From the children’s answers we can say that the program was a huge success, and that the services offered to the children, most notably the open space to be creative and to express themselves, were much needed. Children said they liked SAWA because: ‘we don’t have such activities at school’; ‘ULYP listens to us’; ‘now I have new friends who don’t go to my school’; ‘we can solve our problems in a better way that ULYP taught us’. Children also said that now they knew about recycling they wouldn’t throw everything away. Many of the children agreed that they would have liked to do more drama and music, and some wanted to be able to play football – ULYP has taken their comments into consideration and will reflect this in the upcoming module of SAWA.