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.
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.
“Hello Teacher!” I hear as we’re setting up the classroom; students arriving early, ready to learn, laugh and challenge themselves in another day’s lesson. For the past three months, I have volunteered with the SHARE and LIFE programs. I have grown and learnt so much about myself, while also watching our students learn and grow every day. The classroom is a place where our students can laugh and joke, but also a place for them to work together to develop new skills. Covering topics from bullying, and how to deal with stressful situations, to ecosystems and natural habitats, ULYP’s students are eager to challenge themselves and gain new knowledge.
Every day is different, some days more challenging than others, but great colleagues are always there for support and encouragement. Our students never fail to remind us that the work we are doing is important and meaningful. From a simple, “Thank you,” at the end of a class, to, “We will miss you so much,” at the end of a semester, they are not shy to show us their gratitude. For me, the biggest breakthrough is seeing those who were quiet and nervous in the beginning, now feeling comfortable and eager to participate and help their fellow classmates. During my time with ULYP I have gained valuable new skills and confidence, allowing me to become a better teacher. I have had the opportunity to work with hardworking, creative and caring colleagues, who have motivated and inspired me every day. Most importantly, I have learnt that ULYP’s work is important and necessary for spreading hope, positivity and change.
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.