World Teachers Day

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Today, October 5, is World Teachers Day, an annual UNESCO thematic day to recognize the essential role that teachers worldwide play in creating opportunities and hopeful futures for the next generation.

Providing teachers with the skills, recognition and tools that they need to excel is vital to achieving the fourth UN Sustainable Development Goal on quality education for all.

Celebrating World Teachers Day 2023: Inspiring Educators Making a Difference

On World Teachers Day, we celebrate the work of remarkable teachers we’ve met over the past year who have overcome incredible odds to provide quality education and support to their communities. These teachers illustrate the determination and unwavering commitment of educators to empower the next generation.

Nimeh’s Journey: Empowering Gaza Through Education

Nimeh stands in front of her classroom of children in Gaza.
Nimeh stands in front of her classroom of children in Gaza.

Nimeh, a 36-year-old mother of six in besieged Gaza, faced financial hardships due to her husband’s health issues. It took her years to secure work in education, but her small living space limited the number of students she could tutor at home. Despite her efforts, the earnings from tutoring were insufficient.

With the support from Anera’s Women Can program, Nimeh turned her passion for education into a successful business venture. She received training in marketing and project management, enabling her to open a tutoring center. Anera provided essential resources like screens, laptops, desks, chairs, and whiteboards.

Nimeh’s educational center not only fosters academic success but also transforms students’ behavior and mindset. For example, one student named Rafiq showed significant improvements in behavior and academics after attending Nimeh’s center. Her dedication and the support she received have allowed her to enroll 95 students so far. Nimeh’s future ambitions include opening an educational center for children with disabilities. Learn more >>

Rawan is Bridging Gaps: Educating Lebanon’s Special Needs Students

Rawan in her classroom.
Rawan sees in the classroom how the difficult economic conditions in Lebanon impact children. “They absorb the stress and tension.”

Lebanon’s economic collapse in 2019 triggered an exodus of skilled educators, leaving a gap in support and services for children with learning disabilities. Anera equips teachers with skills in special education, speech and language therapy, cognitive skills, occupational and behavioral therapies, and social and life skills. The initiative has graduated 20 teachers, including Rawan.

With Lebanon facing economic and social challenges, early intervention is crucial for children’s development, helping them overcome the obstacles posed by online learning. Rawan is one of our dedicated teacher graduates who is not only improving students’ lives but also contributing to the educational landscape.

Rawan was able to get a job after completing the training, which is not always easy at a time when Lebanon’s economic and labor crises are getting worse. “In the training, I learned the important role of humor in the classroom and the benefit of doing activities that are both fun and educational,” says Rawan.

This is especially critical in Lebanon now. “The stressful living and economic conditions in Lebanon these days can influence our children’s learning abilities,” Rawan says. “They absorb the stress and tension. Early intervention is especially important now because there is a generation of children who only went to school ‘online’ and lost the benefits of face-to-face learning and socializing. Learn more >>

Empowering Women Leadership in Palestine: Waheba’s Story

Waheba in her office at the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City.
Waheba in her office at the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City.

Waheba is an educator in Gaza whose name, ‘giving,’ perfectly embodies her spirit. Originally from Algeria, Waheba embraced Gaza as her second home when she moved there in 2000, despite facing language barriers and societal challenges.

Since 2001, Waheba has dedicated herself to the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City. She started as a teacher and has since climbed the ranks to become the director of the English and French department and the training director for the school’s Model United Nations Program, all while navigating a male-dominated society.

Recently, the school introduced both scientific and humanities tracks, a significant milestone. Waheba eagerly anticipates expanding her Model UN program thanks to the additional space. This initiative empowers Gaza’s children to explore the United Nations, global issues, international relations, and peace promotion.

“We do Model UN each year but struggle due to space limitations. Now, with the expanded building [from Anera], I have the space to develop my ideas, host other schools, and expand the program,” Waheba shares enthusiastically.

Waheba lives by the wisdom of Roy T. Bennett: “Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” Her dedication and resilience have earned her the admiration and respect of the Gaza community. Learn more >>

World Teachers Day 2019

1. Doaa Ghazal, a 24-year-old teacher, Gaza

“I want to share my message to the world that education gives you the ultimate power to be heard. I have a great passion for teaching and for learning. I am building my experience every day. Sometimes I assist my colleagues in teaching English and math as well my course in social science.”

After attending Atfaluna herself, Doaa found her passion in teaching other young deaf students.
After attending Atfaluna herself, Doaa found her passion in teaching other young deaf students.

Doaa says one of her daily challenges is to stimulate and inspire students in her classroom, where the skill levels differ.

“I try to make sure the children leave class satisfied with what they’ve learned. And, when I have doubts, I discuss it all with my father, someone I trust deeply, before I go to bed.”

Like her father, she was born deaf. Doaa’s education was fully financed at the Atfaluna Society for the Deaf in Gaza, which Anera has supported for decades.

“Without the education I received at Atfaluna, I wouldn’t be able to even step out of my home. I would have feared everything because I cannot hear what’s around me. But education helped me confront the challenges and gave me courage to adjust my abilities into something valuable.”

2. Inshirah, a teacher helping children deal with the traumas of war, Gaza

“Children are the beauty and blessing of life. With them I feel happiness and excitement. They inspire me every day.”

Inshirah has dreamed of being a teacher since childhood. She also loves art and has found a way to combine both passions by applying her creative talent to designing games and art projects for her young students.

In her Gaza preschool classroom, Inshirah is very attentive to her children, like Aisha who is studying English.
In her Gaza preschool classroom, Inshirah is very attentive to her children, like Aisha who is studying English.

The first week of preschool is always the hardest.

“The kids cry and don’t want to leave their mothers. But in a few weeks, the same kids don’t want to leave school, even during vacations…I prefer to see challenges as life adventures. Working with children, entering their world of curiosity and simple pleasures, gives me the strength to face any challenge.”

3. Mayse Abd El Haq, a music-trained teacher, West Bank

“I am convinced that drama is indispensable for children because, through drama, the children cultivate their imagination and discover their talents. Drama helps them release from the cocoon of shyness and self-consciousness and provides them with the means for self-expression…

…Teachers need to act naturally and never in a condescending or patronizing manner. They must come down to the eye level of the children. When addressing them and when the children are sitting on the floor, the teachers must do the same, so that the children will develop a sense of closeness to them.”

Mayse participated in an Anera training session for preschool teachers and administrators on new and effective techniques for early childhood care and education.

Four schools, two in Nablus and two in Bethlehem, were selected as part of Anera’s project as model learning environments.

4. Haja Fatima, a first-grade teacher at a center for people with disabilities, Gaza

“We all need to believe in our abilities. I tell my students to fear nothing in this world, and that everyone has the potential to become the person he or she wants and dreams to be.”

Fatima has lived with polio for most of her life but has never let it hold her back. She has dedicated her life to serving her family and other children with disabilities. “I became a teacher at a center for people with disabilities where I have also received treatment and services for myself,” she said.

Helping people with disabilities in Gaza through medical aid.

5. Salam Al Samra, an Arabic and life skills teacher at Hosh Hareem Camp, Lebanon

“I was a teacher back in Syria. When I came to Lebanon during the war [in Syria] I had only one goal in my mind — and that was to help Syrian kids who had to leave school and have had no chance to continue their education here. I believe that as a teacher, my duty is to help to raise a better generation. The most important thing now, for me, is that these kids at Hosh Hareem camp get the best of me, and that they learn skills here now that they can use in the near future.”

Salam Al Samra, teacher
Salam Al Samra, teacher


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