Youths Celebrate a Year of Knowledge
Twelve months that transformed the lives of many youths have been crowned, as Save the Children marked the success of the latest of its youth-focussed projects with a closing ceremony held at Bourj Hammoud Centre in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
“Strengthening Adolescent and Youth Resilience and the Protective Environment in Lebanon” is one of several programmes implemented by the Child Protection team in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Supported by Japan Platform, a Japanese emergency aid organisation, the project aimed to strengthen vulnerable adolescents’ and youths’ resilience to the ongoing Syrian crisis that is hugely affecting neighbouring Lebanon.
Over 3,000 beneficiaries of multiple nationalities took part in a range of activities over the year, including training on community-led initiatives, English classes, humanitarian training, as well as positive parenting sessions attended by parents and relatives.
The event kicked off with a certificate-awarding ceremony to recognise those who successfully completed the programme. Raghda*, 17, a refugee from Syria, said the courses she took gave her some hope after missing out on school for three years.
‘’I was in the eighth grade before I arrived here. When I tried to enrol in a Lebanese public school, they told me I had to go back to the sixth grade.’’
‘’When I lost hope, I started looking for colleges that teach English, until I found Save the Children’s centre. I completed three English levels. They also taught us computer basics, and students started to recognise how important the programme was.’’
For Raghda*, it wasn’t only the subjects she learned that will last with her for long. Acquiring life skills and knowledge was another reason why she was eager to attend.
‘’I enjoyed the awareness sessions that we used to undergo, on smoking, early marriage and many other things,’’ she explained.
‘’They told us about child’s rights, how, as children, we defend ourselves. There was special focus on that.
‘’We were also told about planning for our goals and how to achieve them. I will always remember the teachers’ words.’’
The young people who were part of the programme are looking forward to new opportunities hopefully coming their way in the future. Experiencing the humanitarian work environment opened their eyes up to new concepts and has inspired them to broaden their horizons and set their goals at a young age. They all agree - it is never too late.
*Names have been changed for protection purposes.