Education plays a very important factor in life, let alone that of a young child. In an area of 22.82 km2 and a population of 7,815 citizens (5,375 Lebanese and 2,440 Syrians), how can the local middle school improve the educational future of 621 total enrolled students when the school itself is in need of a system and physical help?
Seeing that knowledge is an essential key in a child’s life, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST), along with the Italian Cooperation and Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC) have launched a project under the title “UNA SCUOLA PER TUTTI”, which is Italian for “ One School for Everyone”, in order to serve many goals varying from the renovation of Labweh middle school’s physical structure, to improving/updating the quality of education provided, and aiding students with dyslexia, trauma, and learning disabilities as a mean to ensure a safe space, as well as a fair opportunity for children to learn and grow in. This eight-month project is composed of five stages: renovation, capacity-building, retention support, trust building, and learning support.
The first stage is the physical renovation of the school which includes: building renovations (painting, tiling, etc.), renovation of the portable water network, bathroom renovations, providing a playground for sports and outdoor activities, providing an effective computer room, and equipping classrooms with upgraded tools and elaboration techniques.
The second stage after renovating and ensuring the school structure is safe is working on the teachers’ skills by providing them with several trainings. The subjects of training vary from communication techniques, team-building, and code of conduct for the school body, to an updated computer system tutorial, and refresher courses in French for Mathematics and Science teachers.
After the training stage is complete, the third stage begins, which is to create a remedial and support system to retain students in school by using tools such as training students on topics that range from critical thinking, communication methods, tolerance, empathy, and hygiene to music, art, and physical education.
The fourth stage following consists of bridging school and society links to rebuild trust and increase school services for the community. During this stage, a media campaign will be launched on the importance of education for the community. After the campaign is launched, a two-day “open doors” will be organized in the school as a mean to introduce young people and their parents to educational spaces and activities’ training, followed by a small student project which will serve to unite and promote the integration of young people through a common goal.
The fifth and final stage of this project is to support students with learning disabilities (dyslexia) or physical disabilities to stay in school. This stage is very essential since it serves a need that is crucial yet seldom met in the community. Students who face learning disabilities or dyslexia will be assigned to a professional teacher who will help them with their learning disabilities, as well as help their families understand their needs and how to cope with them. Students who have faced a kind of trauma in their life, however, will be assigned to a psychologist that will help guide them through the coping/healing process so they can live as normal of a life as possible.
Concluding this project not only will improve a school, but it will improve the future of an entire community, which in the big picture is a lot more than just providing courses and a few upgrades. It is improving a way of life for generations to come.