Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students

by TFL-US INC
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Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students
Lebanese Educators Helping Vulnerable Students

As our beloved country grapples with the present complicated set of challenges and as the Lebanese crisis pushes young people away from school and robs them of their right to education, Teach For Lebanon’s role is crucial to reverse those existing trends. According to UNICEF, 30% of young people dropped out of secondary school in 2021. This alarming rate is further pushing TFL to provide its student beneficiaries with quality education as well as psychological support and reintegration through recreational activities. 

The crisis that hit the education sector resulted in rolling strikes since the beginning of 2022 due to several reasons including the lack of wage rises, transport allowance, and fuel to heat the classrooms during the cold weather. Wages in Lebanon's public sector have not been changed to reflect the pound's more than 90% depreciation and the country's skyrocketing inflation rate. 

On the bright side, we were successful in preparing the organization for a period of growth and expansion by fostering a learning and personal development culture inside TFL and its activities. Despite the ongoing strikes, our Fellows were not held back and continued to push forward and fulfill their mission through hybrid teaching (in-person and online) in a tough climate. We must guarantee that Lebanese children have access to quality education because they are the key to safeguarding Lebanon's future.

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Lebanese Context Overview:

Over 1.2 million school-age children have had their education disrupted since 2020, with 400,000 children being left out of school as a result of poverty and other factors. In addition to the economic crisis, the country’s education system had already been faced with three other major crises, 1. the Syrian refugee crisis, 2. the COVID-19 pandemic, and 3. the Port of Beirut explosions. The economic crisis is forcing families, particularly the most vulnerable Lebanese and migrant households, to adapt their livelihood-related coping strategies. This includes: for 50 per cent among them reducing household expenditure on education (WFP 2021), for 15 per cent among them unenrolling children from the schools (UNICEF) and for 9 per cent among them sending children to work (UNICEF) and marrying off adolescents/girls to reduce the economic burden on the families. In parallel, the cost of education has increased with many families unable to afford textbooks, stationery or IT equipment for online learning. The country’s education sector is also struggling to retain teachers due to the diminishing value of the local currency, putting an additional strain on the public education sector, which is already facing severe constraints in terms of available school infrastructure, education quality and service delivery. The situation is further exacerbated by the anticipated increase of 100,000-120,000 students transferring from private to public schools from 2019/2020 to 2021/2022. Such acute shifts in student demographics seriously compromise the capacity of the public-school system to ensure basic conditions, including adequate human resources, to provide relevant, inclusive, and quality education that adheres to national and international standards for education and child protection. The compounding factors of economic collapse, the inability to pay teachers, transportation costs, fuel to keep the lights on, availability of supplies, space, and the pandemic threaten to overwhelm the Ministry’s capacity to open schools in the upcoming school year. This will compound pre-crisis issues as children across the country already had lower than average literacy and numeracy rates compared with the rest of the Middle East region.

Most students in Lebanon are now back to school ( Mostly Hybrid schooling) and this brings us so much hope that students will be able to regain the learning process hopefully in a safe and protective environment. However, the need to help parents and students cover expenditures of their schooling including digital devices, stationery and transportation/internet costs has never been higher as the devaluation of the currency has left the Lebanese parents struggling to meet ends meat.

Quality education and youth empowerement are cornerstones for a more developped, hopeful and fair Lebanon. An investment in education goes a long way in making sure Lebanon does not loose its hope for a more peaceful and brighter future.

We hope to have your support to help us meet our target for this campaign! 

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2021 was an exceptional and challenging year on various fronts; from open-closing of schools, economic crisis, August 4th explosion and COVID.

This made building productive and educational relationships with fellows, students, and schools more challenging with limited touch points and required that we make all sorts of decisions under uncertainty while we were stretched operationally due to the departure of key members of staff that decided to immigrate or shift to work with INGOs.

 

However, with a lot of dedication and hard work, TFL executive team has managed to shift most of its programs activities virtually and to promote a culture of growth within the organization and for learning online with our Fellows and students. 

 

We have accomplished the TFL operational goals within the board’s guidelines and have also managed to set-up the organization for growth and expansion.

 

We have renewed partnerships with AUB, LAU and the University of Balamand for alumni support and started a new partnership with Centre Mine at the Lebanese University.

 

- The core program engaged 33 fellows teaching virtually in 18 schools

- We won several proposals competitively, and they will help us expand our impact and strengthen local partnerships with various public and private stakeholders namely, Ministry of Education and Higher education, the Catholic schools network and many more…

- These projects are creating opportunities for us: we can professionalize many processes at TFL, which will improve our organizational health and reputation, and relieve our staff from pressures.

 

- They also come with requirements of reporting and management, which requires us to do some things differently, and to expand our staff.

 

- On that front, we have done the following: (1) recruited a COO and financial manager; (2) launched initiatives to up skill and empower the staff (Individual PDPs, strategic planning retreat…) (3) we have plans to increase number of staff where needed – 

Please find below a summary of the projects we are currently implementing:

 

The Big Bad Boo Peace Education Program that is going to be implemented in 150 schools across Lebanon this year; this project is funded by RDPP and in partnership with Initiate, a local non-profit based in Tyre. 

The Exchange program between Teach For Lebanon and Teach First Deutschland to exchange knowledge and improve our respective refugees education programs, This project is funded by Porticus Foundation

A capacity building program to support team members (a sub-grant from TFALL funded by USAID- We just started Year 3 of this project)  

The recently approved ''Access Microscholarship Program'' Funded by the US state department that has 3 different Pillars :

English access micro scholarship program offering 500 teenagers' (25 classes of 20 students each across 5 regions in Lebanon) that are learning in public high schools across Lebanon the opportunity to increase their English language proficiency by receiving 360 hours of English as a second Language, enhancement and leadership activities. We are in the process of hiring 25 teachers for this project, hence increasing our scale and reach to students across Lebanon and providing youth with decent job opportunities. 

English teachers support an Access program; providing training to 200 teachers over two years. 

 Access Alumni support project; we will be giving training and micro grants for the access alumni network (6000+ members between the age of 18 and 32) in Lebanon. 

BUILD BACK BETTER: We have initiated a Build Back Better Initiative to support students and school communities affected by the economic crisis and the Beirut blast. We are providing students with education and hygiene kits, offering free mental health support for parents; teachers and students (in partnership with Nafsaniyoun). The beneficiaries have been decided upon by close collaboration with  SOS, MOSA, IMC, Public schools...). Here is a video of the “Build Back Better” relief effort TFL is leading in Beirut. 

below is a reflection by a TFL alumna


Nagham is also working with Women Ascension to give trainings on soft skills (such as communication skills, leadership, and emotional intelligence); training youth on entrepreneurship and debate; and, having received a scholarship through TFL, pursuing a masters in rural community development at the American University of Beirut. She was selected to represent Lebanon as a speaker at the Global Women First in Breaking Barriers and Remarkable Accomplishments virtual conference organized by Women Entrepreneurs Worldwide and SHEWISE.

When asked what she sees as the link between her fellowship and the work she’s doing now, Nagham answers: “I can sum up my fellowship at Teach for Lebanon, in one word: IMPACT. Although I’m no longer working specifically with students, my journey of impact continues. I’ll always be equipped with the TFL values, and I will hold those values no matter where I go. I can’t help but recall the famous saying: ‘Once a TFLer, always a TFLer.’"

Addressing herself to current and prospective fellows Nagham adds: “I believe we all want to be good humans but not every day do we get the chance to be able to empower, heal, and teach one another. I believe TFL gives one the platform to experience his/ her humanity; it gets one to know himself/herself better and explore his/her potential. I encourage TFL fellows to make the best out of this experience, which can turn their whole journey into a very special one, a long lasting journey that doesn’t end after the two-year fellowship. I would also like to encourage TFL fellows to deal with students as if they are what they ought to be until they become what they are capable of becoming.”

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Teachers training
Teachers training

Against all odds, our teaching Fellows are going the extra mile to innovate and create a safe and enabling learning environment in their classrooms. Lebanon is going through a very difficult economical and political phase, however Teach For Lebanon is committed to making the most of their daily interventions at the schools, serving not only the students but also training teachers and parents on pivotal topics to help them become better engaged in the learning process of the students. TFL Fellows are working on Gender Based Violence awareness sessions to students, Parents and school communities and also giving intensive English lessons to students and parents in 5 different regions across the country along with sessions on Sustainable development goals. We see hope in our students eyes and the daily perseverance of our staff and teachers. For that we are sure that tomorrow holds a better Lebanon for all of us as we take pride that we are working to shape the leadership of youth and students helping them become the best versions of effective citizens.

Engaged students
Engaged students
Students leadership projects
Students leadership projects

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Thanks to our supporters altruistic contributions, who once again believed in Teach For Lebanon (TFL) and gave our country’s most qualified youth a chance to act upon their good will, leadership drive, and initiative in order to dismantle the obstacles set in the face of quality education and employment opportunities, and to bring joy, prosperity and wellness to the community they serve devotedly, TFL was capable to strive, one again, at elevating the quality of education in Lebanon for the betterment of our country and for the future of our children, regardless of their demographics, religion and nationalities.

It is through the assistance of TFL's supporters that building youth leadership while impacting the lives of hundreds of underprivileged students in needy schools all over our beloved Lebanon was one again possible.

This year, Cohort 11 (2019-2021) welcomed 16 new Fellow teachers who joined their 18 colleagues from Cohort 10 (2018-2020). Although TFL aimed to recruit a larger number of Fellows, the available budget was not enough to compensate for the incurred expenses. Political instability coupled with the refugee crisis generated new challenges for non-profit organizations in Lebanon. The already limited number of corporates and foundations in Lebanon are overly solicited limiting their donation capacity. Before this situation arose, Teach For Lebanon was approaching an inflection point, scaling our educational efforts throughout the country while ensuring an adequate response to the educational needs of an increasing number of refugee children coming from neighboring countries.

Our 34 Fellows were placed in 25 different schools that cater to low income communities; schools that have high dropout rates, schools that serve a high percentage of illiterate parents, and schools that are marginalized and under-resourced. TFL targets communities which host low-income families including vulnerable Lebanese and refugees. During the past year, TFL also served in delinquent institutions and orphanages throughout the region. In turn, Teach For Lebanon is committed to empowering Fellows to become effective and responsible citizens who are familiar with the current social, environmental and global problems and encourage them to adopt collective leadership to find solutions.

TFL prepares Fellows to become lifelong advocates working to improve the learning environment in Lebanon.  This year as well, Fellows were committed not only to provide quality education to their students but also to teach them core values such as trust, integrity, honesty, tolerance and how to behave responsibly and ethically; no violence, gender equality, the importance of hard work and diligence, respecting other people’s beliefs and opinions, and so forth. Fellows also worked on extracurricular programming (ECA) and community engagement initiatives to raise awareness among the students, parents and school communities about various social issues such as Gender Based Violence, early marriage, protection and human rights.

So far, TFL has employed 149 Fellows who have impacted the lives of over 31,100 disadvantaged children in 56 different schools throughout the country. This has been accomplished through our various partnerships with public and private sectors, from local and international cooperates and foundations as well as many individual supporters. 

TFL looks forward to ensuring that all children in Lebanon, regardless of socioeconomic background, have access to a quality education. Our joint efforts towards improving access to quality education while increasing the profile of teaching are believed to be key to a more equitable Lebanon.


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Organization Information

TFL-US INC

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @teachforlebanon
Project Leader:
Salyne El Samarani
New York, NY United States
$5,768 raised of $44,000 goal
 
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