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.
Mira has been a very active and enthusiastic volunteer with ULYP, dedicating her time to the Together Let’s Code (TLC) program. She has shared with us her experiences as a volunteer, particularly when looking at how online images can affect body image and self-confidence:
“When I first joined the program, I was asking myself about the importance of these sessions in helping young girls entering the digital world. Whether the girls would be interested in discussing “body image” and “self-confidence” at this young age, and how to convince them that being healthy is more important than being perfect.
I AM WORTH IT!
Shortly after starting my first session, I was amazed by all the energy and interaction present in the classroom. We started our activities and discussions with the sole objective of turning the negative thoughts about ourselves into positive ones, turning flaws into unique traits. We concluded that being healthy by exercising and eating well is far more important than being perfect and looking like the girls in the magazines.
The best part was sharing our dreams and respecting those dreams regardless of all the barriers imposed by the society, especially on girls. Girls are here to lift each other and boost their confidence. Sparkling eyes and heart-warming smiles when talking about dreams and giving each other positive comments were my biggest reward!”
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.
The Blom Bank Beirut Marathon will be held on the 11th of November this year and ULYP will be in partnership with them again! Every runner has the option to run in partnership with an organisation and a percentage of the proceeds is donated to the charitable work done by that organisation. This year, if you run for ULYP, part of your registration fee will go to the wonderful work we do with children and youth in Lebanon. Last year’s donations helped to build our new pre-school, which has been teaching young children all year!
If you are planning to run in the marathon this year, please run for us. When registering on the marathon website, all you have to do is click on ‘ULYP’, when asked what organisation you’d like to support (under the ‘Run for a Cause’ tab). These donations make a huge difference to the work we do here so please, get your running shoes on and run for ULYP.
Give a Coat, Warm a Heart
Winter is coming, and without the right clothing, many families will struggle to stay warm. We are therefore delighted to announce that our Caring Coats Campaign will be running for the fifth time. Between October 15th and November 15th, ULYP will be placing donation boxes all over Beirut, as well as at our office. Please donate any coats, scarves, blankets and other warm pieces of clothing if you can. Last year, over 3500 hearts were warmed by your kind donations. This year we are hoping for even more!
Thank you, your contributions can make a huge difference!
Zade Dirani in Concert
On 11th of October, Zade Dirani is playing at the Palais Des Congres, in Dbayeh. This event is hosted by one of our wonderful partners, Taawon Lebanon. Please join us at this concert to enjoy Zade Dirani’s music and support our joint educational programs. Tickets are available on the ticketing box office website (https://www.ticketingboxoffice.com/).
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.
Since the very first time I set foot in Lebanon, a few years ago, I knew that this amazing country was a place where I had to live. That was the reason why I looked to Lebanon when it was time for me to do an internship as a part of my studies in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.
The first time I heard about ULYP was before I even travelled to Lebanon. A friend of mine told me about this organization and all its important work with children and youth. The second time I heard about it was one of my first nights in Lebanon when I met a girl who volunteered in one of ULYP’s programs. After that, all of a sudden, it seemed that everywhere I turned people where talking about this rather small organization and their amazing work. I did not meet a single person with a bad thing to say about ULYP. It was impossible to not be interested in their work and I ended up applying for an internship there.
When I think back of my time at ULYP, there is one word that directly pops into my mind; happy. HAPPY was not only the name of the program I volunteered in, but it is also the perfect way to describe the children in the program, as well as the feeling I had during my whole stay in Lebanon interning at ULYP. I have worked a lot with children in the past, but the happiness these children showed me was something I had never seen before. From the very first day in the program the children managed to meet every activity with a genuine enthusiasm. It was clear to me that these children were deeply happy to attend the program and to be able to participate in activities on ULYP’s campus. To be a part of giving these children that feeling of happiness is priceless. That also made me genuinely happy.
After meeting these children it did not take me long to understand why so many people were talking about ULYP. ULYP’s work makes a difference for the children! And all of a sudden, I was one of those people talking enthusiastically about ULYP’s work to people I met.
On Sunday 1st of June, ULYP participated for the first time in the annual Hamra Spring Festival! The beautiful weather provided the perfect background for our games and activities, which included decorating ULYP caps with paints and glitter, a Wishing Wall, the ‘throw the hoop’ game, and ‘how many sweets in the jar?’. We also handed out Peaches for Peace, freshly grown at our campus in Dibbeyeh!
We raised a small sum of money to go towards our Play4Peace campaign, but most importantly we raised our profile by talking to members of the public interested in our work, handing out flyers, and even appearing briefly on Future TV!
We would like to thank all the student volunteers who participated throughout the day, and everyone who stopped by to talk, take part, and donate – we couldn’t have done it without you!