Dentistry is a Good Career in Lebanon
Anera helps train dental assistants to open up career paths for young adults amid Lebanon's tough economy.
Many business owners and health clinics in Lebanon were forced to limit or close their operations during the COVID pandemic and economic downturn, but not all. Dentists have managed to continue working and that means more opportunities for young adults who are seeking work and a career.
Anera’s and its partner Al Mouwasat Association in Saida, southern Lebanon, have tailored a dental assistant vocational training course for struggling refugee and Lebanese youth to help open a new career path. The course has enrolled 20 students and is part of Anera’s UNICEF-funded program known as Youth Empowerment, Education and Employability.
Syrian refugee Ghufran arrived in Lebanon in 2013, fleeing the war back home in Aleppo. The 20-year-old finished high school but could not afford the university fees to pursue a career in dentistry. For now, she says Anera’s program offers her the opportunity to gain experience in the field.
The training takes 120 days and includes everything from theory to a cash-for-work program so students can gain first-hand experience. Ghifran says it was her favorite part of the training. “We deal directly with patients and can apply our patient management skills. We also learn how to work under pressure.” Ghifran is excited about her future. “I plan on saving from the money I’m earning in the training to enroll in a dentistry program.”
At 22, Lebanese student Fadi has displayed great determination and dedication in his training. “I learned a lot about dentistry and about our role as dental assistants. I really enjoyed the practical aspect of the course and am excited to have found a career in dentistry.” Fadi earned top scores on his exams and has already been hired by Al Mouwasat Association’s clinic.
Al Mouwasat program coordinator Alaa Abu Jamous explains the purpose of the training:
“We are preparing these youth for real life work experiences. They will be dealing with people ’s health so there is no compromise in their education. The students have to learn and memorize all the dentistry tools, how to sterilize and handle them, and how to deal with patients too.”
Alaa underscores how demanding the course is. She says the accelerated course requires focus, commitment and follow-through. She acknowledges how hard that is under the current crisis, with so many power cuts, medical supply shortages and overall stress and anxiety for families struggling to survive. “The dedication of the students is admirable, given the many obstacles they face. These young professionals are our future.”