Welding a Future with Steel and Determination
Learning new skills opens the door to a better future in northern Lebanon
Anera has launched a 40-day vocational training course in welding to help vulnerable youth in northern Lebanon gain new and marketable skills that will give them the chance to find work and a better future. Anera is implementing the UNICEF-sponsored program in partnership with a local firm, ABS and Partners for Construction Services.
Anera’s education team organized the course because jobs in construction and infrastructure remain in high demand. The training also gives young adults who had to drop out of regular school the skills to seek a better future.
Atiya lives in a refugee camp in Tripoli where his family settled after fleeing the Syrian war in 2011. The 18-year-old had to drop out of school in the sixth grade because his family could no longer pay school expenses for him and his siblings. Like many young Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Atiya found day work as a porter but a spinal injury limited what he could do to make a living. “I learned about the course through social media and I enrolled to acquire a profession that could help me change my reality for the better,” explains Atiya.
He is not alone in seeking a better future for himself and his family. Mahdi had to leave school three years ago and was lucky to find work in a barbershop. The 17-year-old comes from the Jabal Mouhsen neighborhood in Tripoli, an area marked by poverty and crime.
The economic crisis drained his family’s savings and Mahdi lost his job. Haircuts became a luxury in a town where people could hardly afford to buy bread.
“Our financial situation gets worse by the minute. Securing food has become almost impossible. So I jumped at the chance to enroll in the welding course to learn new skills and help support my family.”
Madhi also has bigger ambitions. “I intend to travel outside Lebanon and welding pays well in other countries.”
“I jumped at the chance to enroll in the welding course to learn new skills and help support my family.”
As an incentive, students who show the most commitment and dedication are selected to work full-time with Anera’s private sector partner, the ABS construction company. Other students will be referred to jobs elsewhere in the workplace.
With continuing support from UNICEF and its donors, Anera is able to create learning and work opportunities in Lebanon for unemployed and vulnerable youth of all nationalities and backgrounds.
Welding student Mohammed fled the Syrian war in 2012 with his family. In 2016, both his parents were killed in an air strike after they returned to Syria in search of work. At 25, Mohammad alone is taking care of his six siblings.
“I used to work as a porter and my brother used to sell tissues in the street,” Mohammed says. ”But with Lebanon’s crisis, our living situation has deteriorated. Today we have so much debt and putting food on the table has become an impossible task.”
This welding course is “the cornerstone for building a decent future for me and my family.”
Mohammed enrolled in the welding course with one priority: “It will help me take better care of my siblings.”
The young refugee also hopes that learning a new skill will become what he calls “the cornerstone for building a decent future for me and my family.”