Jusoor Summer Program 2016: Firas

Sally

 

Sally Itani

Wednesday, 10 August, 2016

 

Today was the 13th day with the kids, and it’s our last week together in the summer program. Various emotions are arising inside of me as we are approaching the final goodbye. It has honestly been a hectic journey, yet an absolutely beautiful one. A lot has happened, but in this post, I want to share the story of Firas.

Firas is thirteen years old. When I first met him, he was such an energetic, quite aggressive child, but he smiled a lot. He didn’t come everyday to class, which is the case with many students, and thus I didn’t really get the chance to bond with Firas as I would’ve liked. At the end of the second week, I realized that Firas hasn’t been showing up for quite a while. His friends told me he had found a job and dropped out of school. It saddened me, and I knew it was the fate of many kids at school.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Firas came into class. I asked him why, and he said that he was only here to get his report card (which was to be distributed today). We all sat down in a circle and started talking, and this is when Firas opened up. He told me his parents forced him to leave school to work at a car garage, where he would spend the day scraping cars. He said he hated it, and that he wanted to come back to school, but his parents wouldn’t listen to him. I didn’t know what to say honestly, but I promised him that Miss Hiba (the principal) would talk to them.

Today, Firas came to school again. I heard from his friends that he left his job and was back in school. As much as I wanted to believe it, I didn’t, because I knew that Miss Hiba hadn’t spoken to his parents yet. But Firas confirmed the news to me, and I don’t know how it happened or what made his parents change their mind, but in that moment I was so happy I hugged him. It doesn’t end here. Today was the day the kids got their report cards. I already knew the results, but it was quite fascinating to see the kids’ excitement once they got them. I never would’ve expected it when I first met the students, but Firas was the first in his class. The joy on his face and on his friends’ faces was indescribable. To think that this bright student who has so much potential was so close to permanently drop out of school broke my heart into pieces, but I am absolutely grateful that that isn’t the case, and that he is back in class. He has a great future ahead of him, and it brings me great comfort to know that he isn’t leaving, at least not anytime soon.

Sally volunteered at Jusoor’s educational centers in Lebanon during July and August 2016 as part of the summer volunteer program. You can read more posts by our volunteers here

Posted on August 15, 2016 in Summer Program 2016

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