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
Above and beyond the interactive and specialized English tuition that characterizes the Rainbow program, our students engaged in a multitude of thematic life skills workshops that enforced their learning and broadened their horizons. Exploring the importance of environmental awareness through planting seeds in repurposed water bottles, learning about the various cultures of the world through music, food, and languages, and disseminating hygiene education by presenting group posters are examples just some of the interactive and holistic workshops that transformed the students’worlds and typified this semester’s Rainbow.
With smiles and positivity abound, we witnessed our students grow and learn with the content of Rainbow. Field trips saw them exercise proper basketball and football techniques and gave them a platform upon which to enforce and practice their team building, communication and respect skills. The Rainbow has truly gone full circle and we, as teachers, have not been left out – we have also learned and grown alongside our students.
This semester concludes the Rainbow program that started a year ago, and this semester has reflected what has been a beautiful year of holistic education, positive attitudes and smiling faces.
Through my time as an intern at ULYP, I had the opportunity to experience a lot of different facets of the Lebanese society, learn first-hand about NGO operations, discover the country itself and meet inspiring and motivational students.
I spent most of my time engaged with the Rainbow Beirut program, where I developed special relationships with the students through teaching and assisting in class. Rainbow taught me various invaluable lessons, but one that stood out was learning specific educational coping mechanisms when working with children who suffer from trauma. Through creative activities such as painting and engaging the students in interactive and participatory English classes tailored to individual needs, I saw firsthand how a supportive learning environment can mitigate students’ potential issues related to trauma.
My other responsibilities included working at ULYP’s office, where I have supported the organization and coordination of different programs. Through the variety of work I have been involved in during my time here, I gained an invaluable and personal understanding of the intricacies of NGO work. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I have been given here at ULYP.
“I have been living in Lebanon for five years and I have never had a day like this… I am so happy I can feel the joy in every part of me!” expressed one happy Rainbow student during a cultural field trip this August. The summer months have been full of exploration, self-discovery, personal development and significant leaps and bounds in our Rainbow students’ English ability – on top of a lot of enjoyment, smiles and laughter!
Rainbow continued to develop beneficiaries’ English language to help them stay and succeed in school. The average improvement in English skills across the program was 70%. Rainbow also targeted growth in the beneficiaries’ personal skills through theater and art therapy, and parents attended monthly workshops designed to support their roles at home and in their children’s educational journey. Through engaging the students in cultural field trips, the Rainbow program expanded their world and allowed them to experience Lebanon beyond their limited environments.
There are 60 more children whose rainbows will be colored in the next quarter before we conclude this program.
Only a few weeks into the RAINBOW Beirut program, Hanan’s mother explained to the teachers how happy Hanan and her brother were now that they are enrolled in RAINBOW. “They used to spend their mornings at home with nothing to do until school starts at 14:00. Now, they wake up excited every morning and on weekends can hardly wait for their next session of RAINBOW.” Six weeks into the program her mother came by again to share the news that Hanan’s grades in English have been rising with every test and quiz she takes; so much so, in fact, that her English teacher at school asked her, “Hanan, who is teaching you English, why is your level improving so drastically?” Hanan’s mother expressed how thankful she is that her children now have the opportunity to learn and catch up with their education, making up for time lost leaving Syria.
“We color the world, not with the darkness of our pasts, but with the rainbow of our hope.” Jenim Dibie
We are almost half way through our RAINBOW program and are already seeing and feeling the colors of change. RAINBOW is a two-semester holistic educational program that aims to bring light and color to the lives of 360 Syrian refugee children, their parents, and their communities. The program runs in three separate locations across Lebanon: Tripoli, Beirut, and Saida, with 60 students per location. Throughout the semester, the students work with their teachers to improve their English and build their self-esteem though the gift of language. They also regularly meet with specialists on conflict resolution, art and theater therapy, and are constantly given the opportunity to engage their creativity in an interactive learning environment.
Accompanied by their teachers, the students learn about the world they live in and explore new areas on cultural field trips, such as visiting the National Museum in Beirut and the Saida castle. With parents playing an important role in growth at home, we meet and provide them with specialist sessions that empower them with knowledge and tools to best support their children and care for them.
In mid-April, the groups in Saida and Tripoli concluded the program with a celebration of their achievements. Students went home with a certificate, an English workbook to continue learning, coloring pencils, and a RAINBOW bag to carry it all in.
During the second week of June we will kick off module two and thanks to the progress made and the positive feedback from parents, teachers, and partners, we will be working with a majority of the same students to push their English learning and skills even further. In the meantime, we still have two programs running in Beirut that will come to a close at the end of May – so stay tuned to see the rainbow shine!