Student Spotlight: Mohammed

change-2-triple-logo.png

In this issue, we decided to let the student tell us about their journey with ULYP, in their own words:

“I took part in Change, a two-semester program providing academic support in English, which got me ready for the official (BACCII) exams in the first semester, and prepared me for university in the second, while giving us enriching English and facilitator sessions throughout.

 The sessions aimed at official exams helped me a lot because my performance in school, which wasn’t that good, improved and I got an excellent grade in the official exams. The second semester is where I got the most out of the program. The second semester helped each student individually in their applications to different universities, which helped me apply to AUB, and supported me in completing my application for the MasterCard foundation scholarship. Thanks to the support I got in Change, my application was selected among hundreds. In addition to the BACCII English support and assistance with university applications, the program helped me gain a lot of skills such as leadership, public speaking and teambuilding as well as time management. I gained such skills through the sessions conducted by facilitators and activities embedded in the English sessions (acting, presentations, games…etc.) which took place on different campuses. In addition to the education, the skills and the experiences I gained from workshops delivered by professional speakers, I had a lot of fun. Finally, the program helped me a lot in my first semester in AUB especially for my presentations in the English course where I got excellent grades. To sum everything up, ULYP’s Change program funded by the Asfari Foundation helped me a lot in the official (BACCII) exams, at university and in my life.

 Thank you for this Change, I’m really grateful.”

Bridge Star – Awad, Alumni

Our Bridge graduates continue to amaze us with their talent, drive and passion. After graduating from Lebanese American University (LAU) in 2016 with a BA in Communication Arts, Awad, recipient of a scholarship from the Bridge Program, directed and produced “Ayoube”, a play that was shown at Metro Al Madina in Hamra, Beirut over the summer.

The play highlights the struggles of Palestinian women in refugee camps in Lebanon, inspired by the stories Awad was told by his grandmother, Ayoube. The play tells the story of her struggle to survive and raise her children without compromising their education and well-being.

The play was well received and was such a success that the team was requested to perform twelve more shows in Metro Al Madina and one in Saida. There is no doubt that Awad’s creativity and vision will fuel many more minds and hearts! We can’t wait to see what Awad’s future holds.

Student Spotlight – Ibtissam, Maharat and MOMs

“English is the universal language; it is necessary to learn, and two years ago I did not know any of it, not even the letters. Because of ULYP I learned English. I learned how to introduce my self and how to get to know others. In the last two years I attended two programs at ULYP, MOMs and Maharat. During the programs, I attended several workshops about personal well-being. I also learned about entrepreneurship during the Maharat program with Microsoft and ULYP. I recognize that the lectures have increased my awareness and understanding on the psychological and social level. They also prepared me for the responsibilities of being a great housewife, and how to be an ideal mother.

The programs also taught me that I can follow my dream of becoming a journalist while being a mother.

Thank you ULYP for everything. Thank you for embracing me and holding my hand through difficult times. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to extend my education.”

 

A Big Smile- Ruth’s experience with ULYP

It’s early morning and I’m sitting on one of the petite chairs in ULYP’s pre-school, when the bus arrives. Suddenly I’m surrounded by a group of shy, but excited-looking five year olds. It’s my first day of working with the HAPPY program and I feel exactly the same combination of shyness and excitement, except that I’m disguising it with a big smile, trying to make the children feel at home.

???????????????????????????????When I applied for an internship at ULYP, as part of my Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies in Amsterdam, I said I would like to be mostly involved in office work. To me that seemed to be the place where I could learn the most, and be of most use. However, what I discovered is that to make sense of things like proposal writing and program planning, it’s good to know what goes on in the field, as the ULYP leadership team advised. Accordingly, I volunteered with HAPPY, ACT, and SAWA, and so I was able to learn a lot about what ULYP actually is doing, how a program is implemented, the different children who come to our campus, and how passionately the teachers are involved.

Working for ULYP means being surrounded with idealistic, passionate and strong people, who make the office and the campus an inspiring place to work. I am happy to be able to continue with ULYP for a little while longer and I look forward to the coming months.

My ULYP Family

Abdelrahman

Meet Abdulrahman Saddiq, one of ULYP’s BRIDGE Students, who is about to graduate with an extraordinary final year project.

“My journey started with my second family, ULYP. I joined this family in 2011, when I was seeking to get a scholarship and continue my studies at a university which provides high-quality education.  As a Palestinian refugee living in one of the camps in Lebanon, namely Baddawi Camp, this was not an easy goal, since one has to overcome many obstacles to get accepted to a good university. Despite this, I persisted in following my goal, and found someone willing to help, and to give my dream the nourishment it needs to grow up.

Eventually I decided to apply for Mechanical Engineering at LAU. At the moment I am working on my final year project, which has received a lot of attention from many people outside the university. We are working on designing an effective exoskeleton to help paralyzed people gain back their mobility. LBCI even came to LAU to report about it and interview us (see the link to the video here). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRQDIRnI8g

This would have not been possible without ULYP.  By being part of the ULYP family you learn to become a responsible person and acquire social skills without which you can’t get anywhere else. You are responsible for keeping your scholarship, and at the same time, you socialize with students who have ideas, cultures and even religions that are different from yours.

Mr. Jalal Lahham, my donor, is the person who has inspired me through my academic life. Mr. Jalal is not just a person who covers my scholarship, but also a caring person who really wants to harvest and develop the young minds of his country. In other words, he is an inspirational leader for the whole community.

I am looking forward to continuing my studies with a master’s degree abroad. Helping the community is an important consideration for me, and innovations that are related to community services will have a higher priority for my life. However, my main aim is to build a family.”

ULYP at the Annual CSR Lebanon Conference

For the second year in a row, ULYP participated in the CSR Lebanon Forum that took place December 8, 2014, at the Phoenicia Hotel. Now in its 4th year, this year’s conference had a greater number of attendees, larger panels, and more topics. Ten of ULYP’s BRIDGE students, who study business at AUB and LAU, were invited to attend the whole day and receive first-hand information about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in Lebanon.

ULcsr lebanonYP hosted a booth in the NGO Exhibition Hall where many conference guests learned about us and added their names to our contact list to receive our publications.  ULYP’s director, Nicole Eid Abuhaydar, also presented the work we do during the final session of the conference, namely the Civil Society Hyde Park. Mr. Gilbert Doumit from the Beyond Reform and Development organization moderated this session.

We are grateful to be part of this fantastic opportunity to learn, network and gain visibility. Great conference, we look forward to the next one!

“One of the Most Important Weeks of My Life”

Mona1

The Clinton International Summer School is held at the Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It brings together ambitious students from underserved communities in post-conflict societies from all over the world. The youth gather to learn about entrepreneurship and to be inspired to work for change in their communities.

This year, ULYP was asked to nominate two students.

Mona Hassan, now in her fourth year of studying Medicine at Beirut Arab University (BAU), was one of the lucky two. About her summer experience, she says:

It was one of the most important and productive weeks of my life and I would like to thank you a million times Mrs. Melek for this week, none of this would have ever happened without you and your faith in us.

The Clinton International Summer School offers classes in management, decision making, finance, social enterprise and marketing. Mona explains how the group engaged in discussions with more than 10 panels, which included “people with very high positions in the world of social enterprise and business, and people who reached the top although they started from nothing. It was really inspiring to see such stories”.

Mona3

Mona Hassan and four other participants in the Clinton International Summer School, receiving an award.

Continuing Programs

Skills4Life3

Skills4Life

The second semester of Skills4Life has just begun. This semester, participants are coming from five UNRWA schools in the Beirut area to take part in a rich, non-formal education program to unlock their potential, increase their motivation and encourage them to stay in school.

Last semester, teachers who worked with the children and youth witnessed a new-found confidence, enthusiasm and dedication among their students, made evident in debates and presentations, and discussions outside of the classroom. Among the secondary school students, almost 90% reported that they learned new skills on the program that they were able to apply in real life while over two thirds said that their school grades had improved.

The program is funded by the European Union and is carried out in partnership with Welfare Association and INJAZ-Lebanon.

Strengthening Amity With the Arts (SAWA)

SAWA is back! Palestinian and Lebanese children aged 8-11 will come together to participate in art, music and drama and learn about gender equality, conflict resolution and children’s rights. Along the way they will increase their creativity, self-expression and confidence, develop teamwork and communication skills, and learn to accept and respect each other. We are very grateful to the United Palestinian Appeal for part-funding SAWA for the third time.

SAWA Logo

Opening Doors to a Better Life

Duke1

As part of the BRIDGE program, four volunteers from Duke University, USA, made the long trip to ULYP’s Dibbiyeh campus where they organized a university preparation course for 29 students—a mixed group of Lebanese and Palestinians. Students were immersed in full-time study for one month, taking classes covering English, math, SAT exam techniques and conflict resolution. One of the four volunteers, Rachel Kiner, tells about their experience:

Our 2 months at the ULYP office proved to be much greater than the 2 month long assignment to teach SAT prep that we were expecting. Our small group of Duke students arrived with the intentions of improving SAT scores and promoting cultural tolerance to Palestinian and Lebanese high school students.

We found that not only were we able to assist a great deal in improving our students’ scores (an average of 200-300 points), but also that the challenge of teaching an English based test to ESL students would have a greater presence in our work than expected. I aimed to turn this challenge into an advantage and began practicing my Arabic on the board during breaks. This simple gesture opened up doors like I never expected. By showing a little bit of interest in my students outside of the job I was there to do, our relationship in the classroom became much more collaborative.

In their eyes I was no longer just an older, more experienced foreigner sent there to help them. We were partners, and they enjoyed teaching me Arabic as much as they appreciated learning SAT test-taking strategies.

Although the other teachers and I were elated by the score improvement, those numbers meant so much more than simply 2 months of hard work at ULYP. To us, and to our students, it meant opening the door to a better life.

Mind Your Power

Alaa's Photo (2)

Alaa Maarouf, a ULYP student studying computer engineering at LAU, took part in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a competition which brings together young tech innovators to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

“This year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup in Lebanon comprised of 18 teams of students from universities all over the country. The panel of judges assessing our designs included professionals from journalism, TV, banks, entrepreneur schemes and venture capitalist firms.

My team, Mind Your Power, consisted of four students from LAU and BAU, each with a different area of study, allowing us to tackle every aspect of the design.

We created the Power Console (PC), a Windows phone application providing remote access to home activity through monitoring and controlling power consumption. PC is a user-friendly app accompanied by a central hardware port to which home devices are connected, monitored, and power-controlled through a specialized network and by means of specialized equipment. PC offers a solution to both economic and environmental sustainability: it not only provides users with a handy means of remote power control, but also serves as a 24/7 monitor of home power consumption rate, and consequent finances.

We made it to the second round of the competition where we gained 2nd place overall in the citizenship category. It was a great experience, more like a dream come true! I am determined to make this the beginning of more achievements in the future.

I discovered ULYP in 2011 after asking about scholarship programs. I studied really hard to get the scholarship as I knew it was a once in a life time opportunity that would change my life and the life of my family. I am very delighted that I am now part of the amazing ULYP family!

I believe that education will help me implement my ideas to improve the miserable conditions of many families. I know that ULYP is not waiting for anything in return, but I feel that I have a great responsibility to work hard and pay back this debt to my society. I am looking forward to being a committed leader in my community. I have optimistic dreams for the future and I will keep working hard to make them come true!”

Alaa HPC app image