Every two months, a group of around twenty enthusiastic people make their way to Beirut and Saida. Their mission? To dedicate their time and skills to those who have found a new home in Lebanon. These people come to teach English, French, science, maths and general life-skills to Syrian refugees living in Shatila and Saida.
The program brings together people from all walks of life to live together and experience a different sort of life in the refugee camps.
Take Abe from the USA. He was taking a gap year between his masters and decided that he wanted to do what he could to help those in need. That led him to Lebanon. His favourite memory of his two-month stay? The bond he created with the children he taught. He recalls fondly his last day when he sang a few songs in his classroom and the children were unusually quite, mesmerised by his voice.
Another one of the volunteers, Caroline, fondly remembers running around the shelter with the children imitating a train. Leaving Lebanon, she knew that she had to go back and after a few months working in Australia and Belgium, she decided to go back to Lebanon and work in the offices for the same organisation she had volunteered with, SB OverSeas.
Alex from Romania had already seen much of the world through her work on cruise ships. For her, Lebanon was next on the map. Sometimes, she found the life there challenging. Working with children is challenging enough. Working with children who have never been in a school environment is a whole other story. In her own words: “The whole traditional idea of teaching is different when you place it in the context of a refugee camp.” However, through patience and flexibility, Alex was able to help create an environment which fostered learning.
It is through amazing people like this, who donate their time and skills to others, that we can all together try to continue making the world a better place.