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!
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!
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.
The end of 2018 marked the end of the first semester of the new SHARE program, and we have just begun semester two. This cycle of the program is working with 80 children in middle school grades residing in and around the refugee camp of Shatila, Beirut. Every week, the children engage in interactive English classes to improve their language skills. There have also been days enjoyed on campus, where they have continued their English sessions alongside workshops on team building, resilience strengthening and sports! As the winter comes to an end, we are really looking forward to welcoming this group to campus more often.
Alongside the HAPPY program, SHARE is funded and supported by the Beit Jeddi Foundation.
LIFE, funded by Taawon/Lebanon was launched in September 2018. LIFE engages 70 students from Haifa School, in Beirut. This program supports children, grades 7 and 8, through English language and life skills lessons but is also tasked with changing the way these young learners approach and appreciate education. As many of this group are at risk of dropping out, our teachers ensure that lessons are customized, fun, and interactive to help the children feel more confident about their academic ability in school. It is exciting to witness the improvement in their English language levels, and their growing eagerness to collaborate with teachers and peers. We look forward to supporting the children on this journey as another semester starts.
Just like all of our programs, we make sure to support the parents too, so they understand and embrace the changes in their children. During the first semester of this program, we hosted a parents’ session to explore theories of childhood development, discuss development strategies during the teenage years, and share challenges faced by the parents. Mothers and fathers attended the session, helping to ensure that we are working together, scaffolding the education of these young people at school and home.
As announced in the last newsletter, ULYP and the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Fund for Refugee Education (AGFE) have joined forces to provide equal access to high quality education for young refugees across Lebanon. The scale of this program, and the opportunity it affords us to transform the educational journey of our beneficiaries, makes it a very exciting new intervention. This project will directly benefit over 500 students, over four years, and has three key outcomes. The first component is the Secondary Education Program, Change, providing 300 students from Beirut, Saida and Mount Lebanon with two years of English language and life skills lessons, followed by university entrance exam preparation and application support. Despite the cold weather, all the students have engaged in the activities and taken the first step of a journey towards successful school results and better preparation for tertiary education.
The second component is funding for 210 students pursuing undergraduate degrees or higher diplomas in fields that are market driven and lead to employment.
The third component is working with students to prepare them for employability and equip them with leadership, interviewing, resume development and other related skills. This will take place in year two of the project.
We are honored to have partnered with AGFE, a foundation that shares the same goals and values as we do, and we look forward to continue working together in the coming years providing access to education to an increasing number of students.
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.
Aya joined the Change program a shy but independent and hard-working individual with the ambition to go to university and become a successful Arabic-English translator. However, with school being over and exams still a few months away, her lack of confidence in English made this dream feel out of reach. The program’s joint focus on English language and Bacc II English preparation re-kindled her determination to chase her dream. Aya took the program as an opportunity to discuss both her academic difficulties and her reservations about her future with Change teachers. She was never afraid to ask teachers for help and to cover specific topics she was struggling with.
So strong was her ambition that she took extra Change sessions and completed over 110 hours of the program, more than any other student. Her confidence grew as did her resolve, and with the support provided by Change, she is once again motivated to pursue her dream of becoming a translator.
“I was studying all the days of the week and always tired, but the days I was going to ULYP I felt comfortable. The program gave me a new energy, and I was benefiting at the same time: studying for the Bacc II and acquiring a new language. All of this really helped me! Change is the best program I have ever seen, it gave me a lot of self-confidence and experiences with new people and new friends.”
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!
SHARE program is funded by Beit Jiddi 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.