ULYP has been able to develop a digital Student Management System and design an online application to serve its ever-growing Bridge program with the support of Asfari Foundation and their commitment to building organizational capacity.
We are honored to share the news that ULYP has become one of the major scholarship programs under the umbrella of the LEAD program (Leadership, Equity And Diversity) platform partnering with the American University of Beirut to, in President Fadlo Khuri’s words, “develop a whole new cadre of AUB educated, world class scholars who are ready to impact society in a meaningful way, who will understand that fear of the other is an obstacle not an asset.”
Bridge graduates: 2019 year brought the total of ULYP’s Bridge alumni to over 500. These young men and women have graduated from different universities in Lebanon and abroad; some are pursuing higher degrees and others are either already employed or on their way to employment.
Bridge’s current students: The number of students in universities pursuing undergraduate degrees in a plethora of majors total 382. These scholarships are made possible by different private, organizational and governmental donations. In addition, 25 ULYP students have been granted USAID scholarships that have been offered for the first time ever to non-Lebanese at AUB and LAU under the Refugee Scholarship Support Program. Four other ULYP students have been granted scholarships at AUB by the Mastercard Foundation, and eight have received Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program scholarships.
Special Diploma: 43 students are currently pursuing specialized short-term diplomas that build on their Bachelor’s degrees to increase chances of employability. These diplomas are supported by the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund (AGFE).
AUST: 86 students are now in their second year of tertiary education at the American University of Science and Technology studying different majors in one of the university’s branches around Lebanon. This is made possible by cost sharing from the university as well as AGFE. The Asfari Foundation has joined forces and provides additional support to some of these students to alleviate the risk of dropping out due to extreme financial demands.
Change remains active for the second year and works with youth in or around the areas of Mount Lebanon, Saida and Beirut. Change is true to its motto ‘change starts with education,’ and through intensive sessions for enhancing English and Life Skills, students build a strong skillset for a better future. Change is in partnership with the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund.
#Respect is back this year and aims to transform marginalized youth into active agents of positive and sustainable change, embodying, promoting and leading intercultural dialogue. #Respect re-imagines displaced youth as a potential, not a burden. The image of this population portrayed in the media is synonymous with war, oppression and suffering, leaving the truth about potential, abilities and respect absent from this picture. #Respect changes the image of this youth BY this youth. #Respect is supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
UPC, the ULYP University Prep Course, is in motion working closely with current UNRWA 11th graders who are performing well at school. They are offered SAT prep courses and receive college counseling sessions to help them get ready for university applications and acceptances. UPC is funded by various donors.
Target around 500 youth
HAPPY, with its slogan ‘bringing childhood back to children,’ has been active, mostly on our campus with a few exceptional sessions that we had to implement locally when safety was an issue. This foundational preschool program targets a new approach to early childhood education and brings change to children, their parents and their teachers. Thank you Beit Jiddi Foundation and Taawon/Lebanon.
SHARE, ‘Spreading Hope and Reviving Education,’ continues for the fifth year in a row, targeting children in grades 5-8 living in and around the Shatila camp for Palestinian refugees. This powerful long-term program renews the students’ commitment to learning and growing. Thank you Beit Jiddi Foundation.
Rainbow is back at ULYP and has been relaunched to bring the ray of light in the form of education to rekindle hope and retain children at school. Rainbow works in five different locations around Lebanon and targets refugees and host community children to strengthen their academic performance in English, Math and coding. Thank you, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund.
Target around 500 children
This summer, we were again lucky to host volunteers from the DukeEngage program in North Carolina. Ten enthusiastic, reliable and devoted volunteers joined our own local volunteers and together they implemented Bridge’s first component, the University Preparatory Course (UPC). UPC works with the top 150 Palestinian students enrolled in UNRWA secondary schools in Lebanon. These students, in the summer before 11th grade, engage in SAT prep and receive college and career guidance as part of UPC. We were pleased that some of the volunteers were of Middle Eastern roots. Hopefully, their volunteering experience helped them better understand their identities and more importantly, the untold stories of Middle Eastern aspiration and potential. On our behalf, we can assure that their counseling efforts left a memorable impact on the UPC students.
As a result of the long-term collaboration between ULYP and DukeEngage, a former UPC student, Nour Kanaan, will be joining Duke University this fall. We are incredibly thankful to the previous DukeEngagers, and specifically Jake McCarthy, who guided her during the application process. We are proud of this lasting partnership and look forward to collaborating with future cohorts!
Noura is a participant in our Bridge Program and has recently passed her Foundation year at the University of Malta with flying colors. In her own words:
“For 18 years, I have been living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon called “Ein AlHelweh”. This camp -with all its flaws- empowered me to see what is beyond the walls surrounding it and to break barriers between countries to finally settle in Europe as I have fortunately gotten a scholarship to study at the University of Malta. Honestly, I have always wanted to leave Lebanon since refugees’ future there is uncertain and depends on the political climate in the region with all its turmoil and danger; however, I always had in mind the idea of coming back and contributing for change. For that, I chose to study Social Work abroad since this field of studies gets you closer to marginalized groups and since I am [in] one of these groups, I may be able to offer more help.Europe has offered me diversity, openness, knowledge, and freedom. Personally, this benefited me because I met many nice, hardworking, knowledgeable, and open-minded people and academically, it gave me the power to explore and learn by myself. The hardships always pushed me forward, never backwards because I believe that education, especially for refugees, is the first and last resort in contributing to the prosperity of a country and one’s success.”
Noura has already made noticeable change. Director Stefania Agius Fabri of the International Office at the University of Malta stated, “Apart from her excellent academic record Noura has really distinguished herself for her participation, her insight, her thirst to learn and willingness to contribute. She has in fact engaged in a volunteering experience in Malta for part of the summer. We look forward to having Noura joining the Degree programme in October and am very thankful that we have been blessed with an excellent student who is truly deserving of this scholarship.”
At ULYP, TLC also stands for Together Lets Code, a program it had developed four years ago to offer young females the opportunity to believe in themselves and their technology skills. This year, and in partnership with Theirworld, TLC continued to be successful in its mission and taught 150 girls ages 10 – 15 from marginalized Lebanese communities along with their peers from Palestinian and Syrian refugee communities. Divided into three code clubs, each cohort learned how to code, working on Minecraft, Scratch and computing algorithms. These coding clubs also include ULYP’s sessions on life skills, swimming, cooking and other activities that are contributing to not only enriching their education, but also giving them an opportunity to explore new passions and make new friendships.
Just like the title of this article, ULYP’s LIFE program spread the joy of learning which was made possible by Taawon/Lebanon. LIFE targets 7th and 8th grade students who are at-risk of dropping out of their UNRWA school, Haifa. LIFE works closely with the school to support the children’s education and offer intensive English and life skills both at the school and on the ULYP campus. Through the focus on life skills, students improved their behavior and attitude towards learning, increasing their confidence as well as their likelihood for staying in school. Parent meetings reinforced these gains as parents were engaged as partners in the educational journey of their children. The program concluded in June with a field trip to Arnaoun Village in North Lebanon where the children engaged in outdoor activities, confidence & team-building, and recreational activities while exploring a new place.
Life Success Story: Malak
When Malak began the LIFE program, she was shy and struggled to pronounce words correctly and properly, relying on others to communicate for her. She had a hard time focusing and listening in class, often getting distracted by friends and classmates speaking to her in Arabic or bursting into nervous fits of laughter when asked to answer a question.
As LIFE progressed, Malak began to demonstrate improved selfesteem and confidence in the classroom. Games building on teamwork in both English class and expert sessions allowed Malak to share her individual talents and contribute to her group, boosting her confidence while allowing her to feel supported by her peers. During a discussion on how to behave in the classroom, Malak expressed her new understanding of the importance of listening and respect in the classroom. After this discussion, Malak began to embody some of the qualities essential to being a focused and successful student. Through learning to listen, focus and ask for help when needed, Malak was able to use her energy in order to better structure her learning and build foundations for future success.
The spring and summer of 2019 were busy for SHARE! We are working with 80 middle school children residing in and around the refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut. Students attend weekly sessions of English in the new center for Social Support Society in Shatila and enjoy full days of English, sports, arts and drama sessions on ULYP’s beautiful campus. As the summer comes to an end, we want to say good luck to our oldest SHARE students and welcome a new young group to this wonderful environment of spreading hope and reviving education.
The SHARE program, supported by the Beit Jiddi Foundation, grew this year to include HAPPY as a way to build the foundations of preschoolers who may become future SHARE students. Next year SHARE will celebrate its fifth year of changing lives!
The wonderful HAPPY program welcomed six classes to our campus this academic year for our interactive, holistic preschool program. Each group took part in four weeks full of lessons and activities designed to grow their comprehension of the English language through songs, art, play and more. The program brought us as much joy as it did the children, who often told us phrases like: “I wake up early when I have HAPPY,” and “I prepared my clothes a day early for HAPPY, I was so excited”.
Alongside the improvements in the children’s learning, HAPPY also supported their teachers’ and parents’ understanding of early childhood development. Preschool teachers observed ULYP teachers and attended a training session hosted in ULYP’s new training room in Beirut. This session explored early childhood brain development, learning stages and the impact of trauma and displacement. The teachers reported learning a number of new skills and noted that the children were better prepared for the next stage of their education as a result of HAPPY. This was validated during ULYP’s visits to the preschools in the camps and gatherings where we were proud to see so much of the HAPPY methodology transferring to these classes. This year, HAPPY directly impacted 140 children, over 100 parents and 18 teachers.