Student Spotlight: Mohammed

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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.”

Learning Through Code

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“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.

TLC Code Club is funded by TheirWorld

Reclaiming One’s Own Story

Inside each of us is a natural born storyteller just waiting to be released.” Robin Moore

 The ULYP teaching team delved into a new Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop curated by the RAWIYAT project last term. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in the context of the Alumni Community Action Grant (ACAG). The grant is aimed at implementing a community-based projects where participants exercise their creativity and leadership skills to make an impact in their communities. The RAWIYAT project consists of a series of workshops designed for vulnerable young people to explore their own stories, while also learning creative methods to curate and share these stories. By becoming rawiyat themselves (story tellers), the youth have a chance to understand their own lives, successes, and model to others the art of story telling.

Through participatory methods, the aim of the program is to create safe spaces where RAWIYAT participants gather together to explore and share their past experiences; find common ground for learning and unlearning; and gain tools to take back ownership of their story over which control is often stripped as a result of the ravages of war and forced migration. The target population for RAWIYAT is female youth from underprivileged communities.

The ULYP team was trained on ways to effectively deliver the program by Dounia Kchiere and Amardeep Kainth. They then delivered it to 15 young women ages 14-17. By the end of the program, each participant had delved into her own personal story and was able to share a carefully curated story of her choice with the rest of the group.

We look forward to future manifestations of the RAWIYAT project!

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SHARE

ULYP’s SHARE (Spreading Hope And Reviving Education) program is an interactive and holistic program that targets students who are achieving particularly well at the Haifa school, an UNRWA middle school in the Chatila refugee camp. The program strengthens the English skills of these students with the aim of enabling them to obtain the tools and skills needed to progress beyond secondary education and into university.

In parallel to the English classes, Share offers sports and art activities to the students as well as cultural field trips. This semester, SHARE students participated in a day of science activities at ACS (American Community School at Beirut) and visited the Beirut Art Center.

We are halfway through the spring module and we are already seeing marked improvements in both the students’ level of English and in their own confidence with the language!

RAINBOW: Shedding Light on Progress Made

“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!

MATH4SUCCESS – Peer-To-Peer Learning

“Teaching is the highest form of understanding” – Aristotle

Math4Success is a new program guided by the principle that the best way for students to really learn something is to teach it themselves. Sixty middle school students and their four teachers have successfully completed the eight-week program, which presents the link between math and life, and reteaches main math concepts. Students learn through interactive methods that bring math to life inside and outside the classroom. They also learn how to code, and by the end of the program are able to code a game that demonstrates one of the math concepts they have learned. A peer-to-peer session requires the children to master the math concepts and develop the game with the aim of teaching it to their classmates, giving them the opportunity to lead the learning process.

We are halfway through the second module of the program with sixty new participants, which includes sessions at the ULYP campus in Dibbiyeh and the participating schools. The Math4Success program is part of Towards Inclusive Education, supported by UNICEF and in partnership with Terre des Hommes Italia. One mother whose child attends the program said that “now that I learned about your methodology, I finally understand why my child wakes up with no problem and gets ready so fast on the day he knows he has your program.”

Springing Into Action

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way. Frank Smith

The third cycle of our Action for Children of Today (ACT) program, supported by HSBC – Youth Opportunities Programme, was successfully launched and is underway! 260 students, aged 9-12, from various cohorts of the population – Sryian refugees, Palestinian refugees from Lebanon and Syria, and Lebanese – have come together to attend 12 weeks of English language instruction on ULYP’s Dibbiyeh campus. The holistic and interactive English classes are supported by sessions with specialists in which the students engage in conflict resolution, art-therapy, and drama workshops. Through the program and its workshops, students are supported with their English language skills whilst being given the opportunity to improve their self-confidence and understanding of others in a creative and interactive environment. The goal of this program, like all the ULYP programs, is to motivate the students, and fill the gaps in their education to stay at school and not drop out.

Also woven into the program are sessions with the students’ parents. Our parents’ sessions are designed to ensure the lessons and methodology of ACT are sustainable beyond the program and into the students’ homes.

#RESPECT

#RESPECT empowers and enables youth ages 16-22 to engage in conflict resolution activities, and to embody and promote the values of acceptance and tolerance in their communities.

In order to sustain change and increase impact, ULYP believes in passing on the baton and giving others the tools necessary to instill change. #RESPECT, funded by the US Embassy Beirut Local Grants Program, does exactly that. In early February, the #RESPECT participants attended a Training of Trainers (ToT) focusing on creating interactive presentations that transmit messages to their peers in an interesting, creative, and informative manner.

In March, the students came up to the ULYP campus for a weekend retreat and closing ceremony. During the retreat, they refreshed the ideas that they discussed during the program, watched the videos they independently produced that carried the messages of #RESPECT, and through simulations practiced dissemination. Throughout April and May, the students will be entering schools and community centers to present their videos to the younger generations; training them on respect, equality, and acceptance – the messages that define the #RESPECT program.

We are excited to announce that #RESPECT has just kicked off the beginning of its third module! Following the opening of the first sessions, one of the students from the Dar AL Aytam Orphanage had this to say:” We have finally found people who understand and respect us fully!”

Celebrating Education – The Future Starts Now

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ULYP celebrated the achievement of 81 students who pursued higher education and succeeded in graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from universities in Lebanon and abroad, all with the support of ULYP’s scholarship program.   ULYP’s class of 2015, together with many friends, donors, supporters and partners, gathered on our campus in Dibbiyeh to celebrate education and remind everyone that education is the ultimate tool for social change.

4The event included two inspiring speeches from two amazing guest speakers; Dr. Mohamad Zakaria and Dr. Yassine Daoud. Dr. Zakaria is one of the top 10 most educated men in the world, and Dr. Yassine Daoud is a world-renowned specialist in ophthalmology. Both men spent their formative years in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and attended UNRWA schools, but managed to achieve excellence through education, determination, and having people who believed in them. In their addresses, they both encouraged the graduates to continue their education, pursue their dreams and give back to their communities. The event also included a musical section presented by the children from our Artists and Actors program, who sang traditional Arabic songs- Muwashahat- to the audience. These 8-11 year-old children learned the songs on a weekend retreat through ULYP’s CIRCLE project, in partnership with UNICEF. We hope they will one day become the future ULYP graduates. The whole event was broadcast live on ULYP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and guests and students were encouraged to post photos and quotes using #ulypgrads.

As well as all receiving certificates of achievement, some students were recognized with additional awards in five categories during the event. These were:

  1. The Beirut Marathon Association Helping People RUN award.
  2. The Giving back to the Community Award
  3. The Following One’s Passion Award
  4. The Mohammad Zuhdi Nashashibi Science and Technology Award
  5. The Abuhaydar Honor Society Award

Finally, two ULYP graduates addressed their peers and spoke about their university transition and the road that lies ahead. We felt very proud as the graduates marched onto stage wearing blue stoles to collect their certificates of achievement. Mabrouk to all, we look forward to following your progress as you embark on your futures!

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Update from BRIDGE

The BRIDGE program recently finished the second module of its UPC (University Preparatory Course), with 144 eleventh graders from UNRWA schools all over Lebanon. The students participated in a total of 35 hours of SAT preparation classes held on the AUST campus every Friday from February-April. UPC did not only provide the students with SAT prep, but also intensive counselling sessions were incorporated, so the students could explore their personal interests, skills and values. The sessions’ aim was to encourage and support personal development, while preparing them for student life. Students were made aware of the wide variety of university majors, the job market in Lebanon, the universities affiliated with ULYP, as well as the different possibilities for scholarships.

Through this, BRIDGE was able to provide the participants with sufficient knowledge to choose the best opportunities available to help them achieve their future goals and dreams. A particularly inspirational and motivational speech was given by Carleton Professor Karim Ismail, which focused mainly on motivating female students who are interested in studying abroad.

The BRIDGE program is also extremely proud to announce the names of four hardworking 11th grade students that were selected for the opportunity to study at high schools abroad:

Mohammad Akel – UWC Norway

Yousef Abu Niaj – UWC Wales

Ahmad Sahrif – UWC Maastricht

Jehan Naphani –  UWC New Mexico

Jehan Nabhani

 

 

 

 

 

This semester the BRIDGE program is funded by Welfare Association.