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.”
“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.
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.
As ULYP grows to meet the needs of Lebanon’s youth, we are excited to announce the inauguration of our new preschool in Dibbiyeh on December 19, 2017. The new space allows ULYP to accommodate two classes at a time of 25 students, their teachers and parents for HAPPY. This means double the learning and double the joy!
ULYP is thankful for the generous support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Taawon Lebanon and Give a Child a Toy that made building and equipping the new preschool possible.
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 Young Learners, underprivileged preschool children have the opportunity to experience a quality education in a safe space that nurtures emotional awareness and understanding. Through pre-math, English, arts, play and exploration activities children are taught respect, cooperation, sharing and understanding. During the program, the children’s teachers are also exposed to the importance of an interactive education and the “learning by doing” process. Through fun educational activities, Young Learners aims to inspire these children by encouraging their curiosity and bringing them to enjoy learning.
This summer, 125 children are benefitting from attending Young Learners two or three times a week. They come in groups of 25 students to the campus in Dibbiyeh, and attend classes led by two ULYP teachers experienced in working in preschool education. Activities are given in Arabic and English; exposing children to a second language early on maximizes their learning potential. Throughout the program, the children absorb essential vocabulary and ideas, such as what is summer?, the five senses and health, by participating in fun arts and crafts activities and games. They learn about germs and viral transmission through glitter, the body parts are taught by singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and they recognize how to describe their senses by explaining how paint feels on their hands. Basic awareness about WASH – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – is a new component for this semester of Young Learners.
Children are encouraged to make and voice their decisions, to listen to their friends and teachers and to solve problems for themselves. They learn to share and take turns playing outside on scooters, tricycles, swings and the climbing frame. They practice introducing themselves by saying good morning to Mr. Froggy, or Tuta the Turtle. Children not only learn independence and essential English vocabulary, but also that school can be a fun and inspiring place, not the rigid, textbook-taught environment they are often exposed to. Young Learners is part of CIRCLE II, in partnership with UNICEF.