Anera's new educational course offers vulnerable Lebanese youth guidance on financial literacy, English language and computer skills.
The Youth Empowerment, Education and Employability (E3) program in Lebanon supported by UNICEF and implemented by Anera has been adjusted multiple times throughout the past two years to accommodate the dramatic changes the country has seen. Schools closing their doors, unemployment rates skyrocketing and the crash of the lira have led to significant educational setbacks for many children and youth.
In times like these, young people must be assured that they are not alone. Through Anera’s educational programming, we are letting youth in Lebanon know that they are not the product of their current circumstances and that who they are is all the hard work they put in and what they end up accomplishing with the opportunities presented to them. Opportunities like Anera’s Youth Functional Skills curriculum supported by UNICEF and its donors.
This youth skills initiative addresses the widespread lack of job readiness skills among students. Anera’s project coordinator, Reine Moubayed, is supervising the implementation of this program with three partners in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. She says,
“Our Youth Functional Skills package is a new component of the E3 program. It’s a 300 hour educational course tailored for vulnerable Lebanese youth focused on financial literacy, English language and computer skills — all delivered online, with each student receiving an electronic tablet and internet access.”
After gaining these basic functional skills, what comes next? How do they choose their future jobs? How to make these life changing decisions and where to start?
To help the participating students answer these questions, Anera’s educational team organized a four day career preparedness workshop using UNICEF's Career Guidance Package.
Sixty students in the functional skills courses, implemented through our partners URDA, Ahlam Lagea and Basma, learned about the job market, proper working conditions, their rights and responsibilities, resume writing and other practical life and work skills.
What did the students think of this new type of educational experience?
Ella-Maria Mosaaed is a 16-year-old Lebanese from the Ain el Remeneh area who is finishing her second year of high school. She wants to become a doctor. She joined this workshop to learn more about decision making and how to take the best steps for her career path. “I am choosing the medical profession because I saw what the pandemic did to my country. We lost many of our skilled medical staff to the economic crisis. I am here to improve myself and hopefully be able to stay in Lebanon.”
Hassan Nasr El-Din is a 17-year-old Lebanese and resident of the Chiyah area. He is a third year accounting and computer science student at a public vocational institute. He believes that this course will help him along his career path. “I am always working on self-development and self-improvement. This program will help me lay the foundations for my future and identify the needs of the changing job market.”
Malak is a 17-year-old Lebanese youth who wants to specialize in professional make-up and aesthetics. She says that the career guidance workshop helped cement her goals. “I registered for this course to confirm my study destination and learn about the development and needs of the labor market. I hope that the younger generation will turn to such programs that will help them define their ambitions.”
Career guidance should become an integral part of high school education in Lebanon. Until then, we will continue scaling up the Youth Functional Skills program to benefit as many young people as possible.
Nagham El Hindi, Anera’s educational field coordinator in Mount Lebanon, says: “We can help students choose their university majors by teaching them how to identify their own skills and personal preferences and learn where they’re needed exactly in the job market.”
Rayan Merhi, at only 15 years old, is one of the younger program participants. Like many youth her age she is entertaining several fields for her future career. At the moment, her first choice is to become a psychotherapist, because she enjoys listening to people’s problems and helping them. But she is also considering cooking, as a way of satisfying her passion for the culinary arts.
“The skills I learned here, I couldn’t have learned elsewhere and they will help me find a balance between my passion for cooking while building a career as a therapist.”
This activity and the Youth Functional Skills component was funded by the government of Norway and Finland, powered by UNICEF and implemented by Anera and its partners.