To mark Teacher’s Day, we spoke to two teachers at our educational centers in Lebanon who are committed to providing Syrian refugee children with a quality education and a brighter future.
Meet Hasna, Teacher at Jeb Jenin Educational Center
“Children here at Jusoor need more love and caring. We, the teachers, need to know how we can stop their suffering so we show extra care and understanding,” said Hasna who has been working at Jusoor’s Jeb Jenin Educational Center since 2015.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Hasna studied Arabic literature at Lebanese College but hadn’t been trained in teaching and therefore unprepared to employ the nuanced skills and techniques needed to nurture the vulnerable population which Jusoor serves.
She views the teacher professional development programme that Jusoor offers as essential for teachers. “I needed to become better in teaching and more flexible, and increase my knowledge of teaching children.”
The impact of Jusoor’s teacher training is evident. Hasna is more confident in her English language and teaching skills. “I like all the kids to know English from a young age as it stays in their minds. We use simple vocabulary related to their environment as it’s important to make it relevant to their lives.” The training has also impacted the children. “At the beginning they didn’t like to write or learn anything new and only wanted to spend their time playing. I taught them that it’s important to learn so you can become the person you want to be in the future’.
It is not only English skills that Hasna is acquiring from the teacher professional development programme. Hasna also receives training in psychosocial support and how to deal with children affected by trauma and conflict.
Through her teaching at Jusoor, Hasna is building her own skills and knowledge and impacting the lives of her students as well as contributing to the economic livelihood of her own family to further their future. “Teaching never ends, I believe in this expression it makes me stronger and more open minded to the world.”
Meet Ezdehar, Principal at Jeb Jenin Educational Center
For the last five years, Ezdehar Omar has been an active and crucial part of Jusoor’s efforts to provide young Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with quality education. As the principal of the Jeb Jenin Educational Center, Ezdehar has seen the positive impact of schooling on her students.
Ezdehar said, “The students are excited to come here and I see more happy faces every day. The way the students treat and connect to each other has greatly improved.”
Many of the students have been impacted by the conflict in Syria. Some have lost close family members while others are still living in precarious conditions. At Jusoor’s Educational Center, Ezdehar creates a safe space where students can speak openly about their issues and develop their academic and personal skills. Ezdehar also provides psychosocial support for young women and girls married at an early age, which enables her to continuously give back to her community.
For Ezdehar, working with Jusoor has given her the opportunity to advance her own personal development. She has taken part in several teacher training courses that have helped to equip her with vital English language skills. She said, “The way I interact with the people around me has changed significantly. I learned how to communicate feedback to people in a constructive manner. I am now able to share my observations and sometimes even my opinion in a beneficial and empowering manner.”
Ezdehar’s role has enabled her to build trust with members of the community who were initially skeptical of her role as school principal. These closer bonds have enabled her to create opportunities and address problems arising in her community.
In the future, Ezdehar hopes to expand educational opportunities to hard-to-reach camps in the Bekaa Valley and advocate for the rights of Syrian refugees. Ezdehar believes that the skills she’s acquired at Jusoor can help benefit others. She said; “Learn languages because they open doors to whole new worlds, acquire new skills, never stop educating yourself and discover what you are passionate about and pursue it. Use every opportunity to broaden your horizons as much as possible.”