Archive for the ‘Vocational Training’ Category

Between February and December 2016, ANERA’s skills training program reached more than 6,500 out-of-school teens in Lebanon. These short skills training courses for refugee youth help equip students with skills in a variety of marketable fields, such as electric wiring, chocolate molding, floor tiling, sewing, beekeeping and more.

The program also offers youth training and apprenticeship opportunities that boost their potential as they enter the local job market. One form of these apprenticeships is community service, which allows youth to hone their skills while giving back to their community.

Almost 30% of youth completing vocational courses have also completed an apprenticeship. More than 1,200 did so through targeted community service projects.

Graphic Design Students Paint a Mural in Nahr El Bared

Women in the refugee youth project paint a mural in Nahr El Bared.

Young women in the graphic design course paint a mural in Nahr El Bared Palestinian camp.

Six students from the graphic design course helped paint murals in Nahr El Bared camp. The initiative is part of ANERA’s waste management program in Nahr El Bared and aims to raise awareness about cleaner environmental and sustainable practices.

Reem Rinawi is one of the design students in the refugee youth project who helped plan and conceptualize the mural, applying much of what she had learned in the design course.

“Before the mural design process, I practiced at home, where I made some initial sketches,” Reem said. “This is one of the most interesting experiences in my life. It was very rewarding to see the tangible impact that can result from applying the concepts we learned in the classroom,” she added.

Sewing Students Make Winter Clothing for Syrian Refugees

Teens in the sewing workshop make warm pajamas for the youngest Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Teens in the sewing workshop make warm pajamas for the youngest Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Ten participants from a sewing course in Bhannine, Akkar made 300 warm flannel pajamas for refugee children. They applied their skills in selecting fabric, making patterns, and the sewing waistbands. The pajamas were distributed in eight informal tented settlements in northern Lebanon to Syrian refugee families.

“We sewed two different patterns of pajamas, one for girls, and another for boys. They come in three different sizes to fit children ages 3-10,” said Mahassen Samman, the trainer of the sewing course.

Early Childhood Education Trainees Lead Interactive Activities for Children

Students in the refugee youth project learn to be preschool teachers.

Students from the early childhood development course lead an interactive activity with preschoolers in Sidon.

Twenty participants from the early childhood development course in Sidon visited a local nursery and led a morning of interactive activities with the children.

“It was a lot of fun! We played, sang, and did several other activities with the children,” said Wafaa Abo Taleb, a participant in the course. “I learned that the reality of working with kids can be more challenging than what you read in books. But it is also far more rewarding.”

Free Haircuts in Refugee Tent Settlements

Students in the refugee youth project give haircuts to Syrian refugee kids.

Hairdressing students practice their skills by giving free haircuts to Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Ayham Dakar, 16, along with six other graduates from the men’s hairdressing course visited an informal tented settlement for Syrian refugees in Jib Jannine, West Bekaa. It was an open day of complimentary haircuts for men and children.

Ayham is a Syrian from Damascus, who fled with his family six years ago to Lebanon. “I am here to help people. I will offer them haircuts and will get experience as well,” Ayham said.

Khalil Assaf, 17, a Syrian from Homs, is now working to support his family as a car mechanic. “I joined the hairdressing course as I want to pursue it as a profession. It’s useful, clean, and always needed,” he said. “The event today was very interesting, and made me more determined to pursue my dream of being a professional barber.”

Similarly, four young women from a cosmetology course in Beddawi went along with their instructor, Intissar Ghanayem, to a center for the elderly in Nahr El Bared Camp. For a couple of hours, the elderly women received free haircuts and makeup application.

“Many of the women in the center have difficulty moving around, so they don’t go out very much. This kind of activity is really appreciated here,” said Hanan El Sayyed, the secretary of the center.

Amal Atieh, 18, one of the graduates who had dropped out of school in the ninth grade, is now planning to do an internship with a local hairdresser in Beddawi to further pursue it as a career. “I joined today’s activity because I like to put smiles on people’s faces, and that’s exactly what happened,” she said.

Young Photographer in Ein El Hilweh Covers Local Event

A photograph by 19-year-old Baraa from her coverage of the International Children's Day Celebration in Ein El Hilweh camp.

A photograph by 19-year-old Baraa from her coverage of the International Children’s Day Celebration in Ein El Hilweh camp.

Baraa Al Mahmoud is a 19-year-old photographer covering International Children’s Day at Ein El Hilweh camp. She captured this photo of young girls celebrating. Not only did her photography help local organizers, but she applied the skills she learned in the Photoshop and photography course she recently finished.

In addition, some of Baraa’s friends from a chocolate molding course made some bite-sized chocolate treats for the day’s festivities.

The initiative was made possible with the partnership of UNICEF and funding from UK Aid, German Cooperation and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

ANERA offers basic literacy, math and vocational courses to refugee youth and other impoverished communities.

Below, we highlight three stories about Syrian refugees who benefited from non-formal education in Lebanon. The program is implemented in partnership with UNICEF and made possible through funding from German CooperationUK Aid, and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Rania: Young Mother in Bhannine

Rania dropped out of school more than a decade ago, when she was in the sixth grade in Syria. Today, she’s a refugee in Bhannine, Lebanon. When she heard of ANERA’s literacy and math courses, her only concern was finding a safe space to leave her five-year-old daughter Amal.

Now, Rania and a group of young mothers are enjoying ANERA’s courses while their children are in daycare at the center.

“I heard about the classes from my neighbors and was so eager to join,” said Rania. “These classes gave me some hope that there’s something to look forward to, and it’s never too late to go back to school.”

Rania enrolls in ANERA's courses in non formal education in Lebanon while her daughter goes to day care.

Rania is able to attend ANERA’s courses because she can put her daughter in daycare at the school.

Abdo: Football Coach for Refugee Youth

Abdo fled from his hometown of Zabadani, Syria to Majdal Anjar in Bekaa, Lebanon. Initially a social sciences teacher, he couldn’t find any employment opportunities to support his younger sister and sick mom.

Abdo heard of ANERA’s skills training courses in Bekaa, particularly the courses for sports trainers. As a former trainer for the Shabab Al Zabadani football team in Syria, he applied to be one of the trainees.

Now, Abdo is one of the trainers who oversees ANERA’s sports learning courses in football in Bekaa. “I manage two training sessions per week. I enjoy this greatly on one hand and, on the other, the income I receive helps me provide for my family.”

Abdo learned coaching as part of ANERA's non-formal education in Lebanon program.

Abdo attends a football training session for his students.

Khaled: Computer Technician

Khaled, 18, dropped out of school in seventh grade. He regrets it now, and that’s why he started looking for alternative education options.

When Khaled heard about ANERA’s non-formal education courses in Lebanon, he was quick to enroll in courses on literacy, math and computer skills. Now Khaled works at a computer shop close to his home in Tripoli and makes around $50/week.

“After I dropped out of school I worked in many different jobs, but working in computer maintenance always interested me,” said Khaled. “Though I’ve started with some minor chores and clerical support, I believe this is an opportunity to change my future.”

Khaled stands in front of the computer shop where he works.

Khaled stands in front of the computer shop where he works.

ANERA offers vocational and literacy courses to refugee youth who can’t attend school in Lebanon. Many of the youth in ANERA’s program live in vulnerable circumstances and had to drop out of school to support their families. Through the courses, some them are redirected to formal education, while others are provided with more technical job skills that support their future careers. Below, we’ve highlighted some stories from recent graduates. Their incomes may be modest but have a big impact on improving their livelihoods.

The program was launched in partnership with UNICEF, German Cooperation, UK AID and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Meet Halima, 19 | Secretary


Halimah, 19, is a Palestinian refugee from Ein El Hilweh camp in southern Lebanon. She dropped out of school in the 9th grade, and later joined non-formal literacy, math and skills training courses at the Women’s Program Association – ANERA’s local partner. Her hard work impressed the director of the association, who hired her as a secretary. She’s been been working at the association now for two and a half months.

“I started with a modest salary, but it’s enough for me to cover my own needs independently,” Halima said. “As soon as I complete my third month, I will get a raise.”

Meet Bashar, 16 | Pastry Chef

Syrian youth learn job skills like pastry-making in ANERA courses

Bashar, 16, fled from his hometown of Homs, Syria four years ago and took refuge in Fneidik, Akkar. His father couldn’t work because he suffered from recurrent strokes, so Bashar became the sole breadwinner of his family. This meant that he couldn’t go to school anymore, and instead worked in a local clothing shop for $3/day. He supports his ill father, his mother, and two younger siblings.

Last summer, Bashar enrolled in ANERA’s pastry-making course and his teacher helped him find a job at a local bakery that tripled is income to $10 per day.

“If I hadn’t heard about this course, I was going to work in construction, since the clothes shop I worked in closed down,” said Bashar. “Now I enjoy my work, and I plan to open my own bakery when I go back to Syria.”

Meet Khaled, 17 | Mobile Phone Maintenance

Syrian youth learn job skills like electronics in ANERA courses

Khaled, 17, dropped out of school in the 7th grade to help his electrician father in supporting their family of seven.  

Khaled joined one of ANERA’s mobile maintenance training courses. After graduation, his father helped him set up a small mobile shop inside Ein El Hilweh camp where they live. The shop opened last October, and Khaled now makes a net profit of $400 each month.

“I have to work to support my family, but this is much safer than working in electricity. I enjoy it much more too. I hope to have a larger shop outside the camp in the future,” Khaled said.

Meet Nariman, 16 | Embroidery


Nariman, 16, dropped out of school in the 5th grade. She joined an ANERA embroidery course in Ein El Hilweh camp. The high quality of her work caught the attention of a local partner, who offered to buy her pieces and resell them at local fairs. Now Nariman sells seven to eight small pieces each month.

“My parents don’t want me to work outside the house,” said Nariman. “So embroidery is great since I can work from home and deliver the pieces as soon as they are ready.”

Meet Jana, 16,  and Huda, 20 | Decorating


Jana, 16, and Huda, 20, met at ANERA’s chocolate decorating course in Ein El Hilweh Camp. Here, they are preparing a gift for Huda’s newborn niece.

“This decorated wreath is sold for around $13. Many of my friends and relatives have seen my work and placed an order for custom-made ones,” Huda said.

“I’ve already made wreaths for my aunt and another relative as gifts for newborns,” added Jana.

Meet Ghazi, 17  | Drywall Installation


Ghazi, 17, dropped out of school in the 8th grade to support his father who works as a painter. When he heard of ANERA’s skills-based training course in Gypsum painting, he joined to develop his skills.

“I enjoy working with drywall more than wall painting, and I volunteered to work with my teacher to get more experience,” Ghazi said.

Now Ghazi installs drywall at homes, offices and shops. The first house he worked on was his brother’s. 

Meet Shady, 23 | Assistant Surveyor


Shady, 23, from Fneidik, Akkar, dropped out of school in the 8th grade. Since then, he tried to get involved in different activities to learn a profession, but nothing stuck.

Shady joined the AutoCAD class offered as part of ANERA’s skills-based training courses. He liked it and he volunteered to assist the Fneidik Municipality in land surveying for local development projects.

Now, Shady works as an assistant to a surveyor engineer, and earns an income that helps him support his family.

“My father has passed away, and I am the only one working out of my 12 siblings.”

“It’s always been my dream to be a preschool teacher and now I am,” said Zeina Agha, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. Now she can help support her family of six, that had been relying only on her father’s modest income as a driver.

Her dream came true after she won an ANERA scholarship to become certified in preschool teaching. In Lebanon, Palestinian refugee youth like Zeina have limited options when it comes to work and education. Most only get a basic education, and about 70 percent graduate from high school. Some try to enroll in vocational training programs when they get the chance.

Creating Options for All Students

Zeina won a scholarship aiming to promote Palestinian youth education in Lebanon.

The Abdel Hadi Debs scholarship is designed to promote Palestinian youth education in Lebanon.

For youth with poor academic records who don’t do well on official government exams, their options are to drop out of school altogether or enroll in vocational training. There are very few vocational training centers in Lebanon and waiting lists are generally long. So many youth who want to go that route never get the chance. For these young Palestinians, the ANERA scholarships to the Abdel Hadi Debs Institute in Beirut are a life-saving opportunity to remain in school and on track in pursuing a better life.

“Upon the inauguration of the program, we were very impressed by the performance of the students,” said Mr. Adel Damaj, director of the Institute. Damaj notes that some students made it to honor lists and were ranked in top positions at the Lebanese national level. Marwa Dirawi is one of those students. She’s  an ANERA scholarship recipient who ranked second in Lebanese national exams in 2015.

This academic year, a total of 15 Palestinian youth, aged 15-18, are getting scholarships to pursue their studies. The students come from the four main refugee camps in the Beirut metro area: Sabra, Shatila, Burj El Barajneh and Mar Elias. In the outreach and candidate selection process, ANERA partnered with Beit Atfal Assamoud, a local organization in the Palestinian camps.

How We Foster Palestinian Youth Education

Fatima is one of the recipients of a scholarship aiming to promote Palestinian youth education in Lebanon.

Fatima is pursuing a degree in preschool education with the help she receives from the Debs scholarship.

The selection of scholarship recipients is based on two criteria: an entrance placement exam and personal interviews. “ANERA coordinates with the Abdel Hadi Debs Institute to guide students to the specialties that play to each person’s strengths,” explained Nisrine Makkouk, ANERA’s education program manager in Lebanon.

“My parents wanted me to continue in the general education system like my older siblings, but technical education was always appealing to me,” explained Fatima Shouni, a student pursuing a degree in preschool education. “Now that I’m ranked first in my class,” added Fatima, “my parents approve!”

In addition to covering tuition, ANERA also follows up with both the students and the institute. Regular parent-student discussion sessions are organized to share challenges and collaborate on solutions. ANERA supports students so they graduate as well-rounded, capable young adults ready to succeed in life.

ANERA also supplements the three-year program with extracurricular activities that build skills like communication and leadership. With tools like these, Palestinian youth have what it takes to shine in the workplace and within their communities.

On the seashore of the Tal Hayat village overlooking the Mediterranean, a group of youth gather under a roofed patio to learn how to weave fishing nets. These refugee youth, like many of their peers, are not enrolled in schools. They take the fishing net classes to do what they can with their limited opportunities.

In Tal Hayat, the norm for girls and boys is to quit school in their early teens. Boys usually drop out to work and support their families, while girls often quit school to get married.

Bariaa El Ali, 14, stopped going to school in the fourth grade. She now spends her days helping her mother with housework and joining her father on fishing trips. “These classes are a great opportunity to learn how to weave fishing nets,” she said.

“I’ve always loved the sea and helping my dad in his fishing business,” said Bariaa.

Another girl, 18-year-old Marah Ahmad, takes the classes to help her fisherman husband. “Here most of the villagers work as fishermen,” she explained. “I like to sew, as a hobby, so by joining this class I’m enjoying my time and also supporting my husband.” And since fishing nets can be expensive at up to $50, knowing how to make them is an invaluable skill.

Girls Get a Chance at Finding Jobs in Lebanon

Refugee girls take courses on skills for jobs in Lebanon , like making fishing nets.

Marah weaves a fishing net in a class in Tal Hayat, a Mediterranean village where many work as fishermen.

This fishing net weaving class is one of many skills-based training courses offered by ANERA. These classes provide 5,000 out-of-school youth with entrepreneurship, employability and competency-based training. By August 2016, a total of 3,177 youth have enrolled, including more than 1,600 girls like Bariaa and Marah.

“There are many more restrictions on girls when it comes to access to education and life-skills, especially among underprivileged communities, often in rural areas, which are to some extent more conservative,” said ANERA’s Education Program Manager Nisrine Makkouk. “This is why we focus on reaching out to young girls and design classes in a way that aligns with social codes, like having gender segregated groups if necessary, or ensuring their proximity to the center of the village, camp or tented settlement.”

Marketable New Skills Generate Income for Refugees

Rashida El Atik, 14, chose to participate in a class on beadwork in the village of Meshmesh in Akkar, northern Lebanon. “I’m interested in artwork, embroidery, drawing and henna,” she said. By the end of the course, some of her relatives had already placed orders to refashion their headscarves with her beadwork. “They saw pictures of the work I’ve done and loved it,” she added. “Now, I can make my own income practicing a skill I enjoy.”

Likewise is the case of Samar Shaqara, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee who attended a chocolate molding class in nearby Hrar. She now trains at a local chocolate shop in the village and will earn an income based on sales in the coming months.

Classes like chocolate molding give refugee girls skills for jobs in Lebanon.

Samar (left) joins Nahed and Zeinab in a class on chocolate molding in Hrar, Akkar.

“The courses are not only about teaching these youth new skills, but also about enabling them to access new opportunities towards improved livelihood,” Makkouk emphasized.

The courses are part of ANERA’s education program and are planned  in partnership with UNICEF. Funding comes from the German Cooperation, UK Aid and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. ANERA coordinated with 52 local partners to implement the program in the Lebanese governorates of Akkar, Bekaa, North and South. Youth from the Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities benefit from the program.