Bilal Khaled El Hassan is 14 years old. He lives in Beddawi refugee camp in Lebanon with his parents and two siblings.
Bilal left school when he was 10 years old because he had learning difficulties that his school wasn’t able to accommodate. He’s spent the last four years helping his parents in their grocery store.
“My dad is a janitor and my mom runs this small grocery store,” Bilal explains. “We don’t have much to sell but I stayed in the shop while my mother was cooking at home and caring for my sister who suffers from cardiovascular disease.”
Youth At Risk Take Control of Their Future
Two months ago, Bilal joined Anera’s electricity maintenance training courses delivered at Tamkin Technical Center in Beddawi.
The vocational course is part of Anera’s non-formal education project conceived and implemented in partnership with UNICEF. The program, part of the No Lost Generation initiative, is open to youth aged 14 to 18 who are no longer in school due to personal hardship, poverty or displacement.
Amid the refugee influx and economic instability in the region, young men like Bilal become targets of militias and traffickers. The aim of Anera’s refugee education programs is to provide youth with valuable skills to obtain good-paying jobs and build connections in the community.
Anera works in 22 locations across Lebanon with dozens of educational institutions and community centers to build their capacity and expertise. With local organizations, Anera develops remedial education courses and vocational classes that are designed to appeal to youth. They are short, accelerated courses held in easily accessible locations at times convenient for youth that work to support their families.
Instructor Fahmi Moussa explains the course’s structure and objectives : “We apply an interactive teaching method that combines theory with hands-on practice to teach students how and why things are done in electricity maintenance. By the end of the course, students will gain the knowledge and practice to launch their careers.”
Some of the 18 students enrolled in this course have already found jobs. Bilal hopes he will be next. With a job in electrical maintenance, Bilal knows he can help support his family. “I left school but it is not over for me yet. I know I can succeed,” he says with confidence. “What I wish for now is to earn enough money to pay for my sister’s heart surgery.”