Hanine Chakawi lives in Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, with her parents, three sisters and two brothers.
The 14-year-old and her family fled their home in Homs, Syria three years ago and sought refuge in Lebanon, where they are trying to regain some sense of normalcy.
Hanine left school at the age of 11 when she arrived in Lebanon. “The Lebanese curriculum is so different from the Syrian one, all subjects are delivered either in English or French,” she explans. “Arabic is a second language here, but in Syria the whole curriculum is in Arabic.”
Hanine would have lost any incentive to improve her life if she hadn’t found Anera’s skills training program, part of an extensive non-formal education program Anera implements across Lebanon to help Syrian refugees and other youth in the country regain hope for their futures. Now she and many other youth in Lebanon have learned valuable skills in workshops designed to meet market needs.
Hanine Dreams of Becoming a Fashion Designer
Hanine enrolled in the sewing workshop offered at the Women’s Program Center (WPC) in Beddawi camp, Anera’s local partner for the program. Hafiza Houwaly, who heads the WPC in Beddawi, explains. “The workshops appeal to young girls and women who are trying to learn skills and competences to help create items that they can use at home and eventually for income generation.” She says seven out of 10 graduates manage to make a career in sewing.
To support the sewing program, Anera has distributed hundreds of sewing kits that were generously donated by UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to complement the training program in Lebanon. Houwaly says the kits are essential. “These sewing kits allow girls to work individually rather than waiting to take turns to use scissors or fabric. The kits also encourage girls to complete the training on their own and gain a real sense of accomplishment.”
UMCOR also has donated over 14,000 hygiene kits, baby kits, bedding packs as well as the sewing kits, that Anera distributed to Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
In Syria, Hanine had always dreamed of becoming a well-known artist. She has excelled in fashion design and sewing and her dreams have not faded. Hanine’s ambition now is to become a well-known designer and to return home to Syria one day to a fulfilling career.