Mohammad Ahmad Al Hamad readily admits his education did not start off well. He twice failed his baccalaureate exams in high school. “I never liked theoretical and academic learning.” He explains that formal education was just not a good fit. But, he knew that as a young Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, he would have a hard time finding a job without a diploma.
Mohammad says it was not a question of studying but more what and how. “I’ve always wanted to study electronics.” he says. But taking a specialized course would cost money that he and his parents did not have. When his aunt told him about Anera’s scholarship program for vocational training, he decided it was an opportunity he could not pass.
In 2012, Mohammad received a scholarship from Anera and was accepted in the vocational program to study electronics at Hadi El Debs Institute in Beirut. He lived with his family in Wadi Zeine gathering, in southern Lebanon and commuted 45 minutes every morning to Beirut. “The training was really good,” he says, “and all the students there are like brothers to me now.”
For his final project, he created a three-dimensional cube, which he says became one of the most important projects during the year and, he adds “even the Institute’s director realized it.”
After two years, Mohammad graduated with a special mention for his excellent grades. He readily admits his secret was studying something he loves. “The studies were very easy for me because electronics is my passion.”
Mohammad’s skills did not go unnoticed by his professor. At the end of the year Mohammad was offered a summer job at the institute.
Tears of pride filled his mother’s eyes when she watched her son graduate. He is the only one of her six children who has continued his studies and has been able to pursue a path he loves. “I remember when he was a child I used to find him in the basement putting the family radio into pieces and putting it back together again. Mohammad has always loved working with his hands.”
Mohammad is confident about his future. “Now, I would love to continue my studies and get a higher degree in electronics,” he says. “Maybe I will even be able to study for a MA abroad.”
But first, Mohammad says his goal is to find a job to help his family, which will probably mean continuing his studies at night school.
Anera’s scholarship program is helping 18 other Palestinian youth like Mohammad to pursue vocational training that gives them the skills they need to compete in the job market.