LAU and Teach for Lebanon share a common goal
February 16, 2015—
The relationship between LAU and Teach For Lebanon (TFL) is built upon the mutual belief that education is the key to improving one’s future.
In step with LAU’s tradition of giving back, the university offers TFL alumni scholarships each year, enabling them to pursue graduate studies at LAU, while TFL benefits from a pool of talented LAU graduates who become “Fellows”, teachers sent to work in schools throughout Lebanon.
Rima Sharkawi who studied English Literature at the Lebanese University became a Fellow with TFL and is now pursing a Master’s in Education at LAU.
“As a teacher in training, I was able to see plenty of gaps in our country’s educational system,” she explains. “By joining TFL, I felt I would be able to make important changes in that system,” she enthuses.
TFL was founded in 2008 by Ali Dimashkieh, a former employee in the cultural affairs section of the U.S. embassy. While working on a project to review the educational system in Lebanon, he noticed a surprising figure: 49% of elementary school children in Lebanon drop out before graduating from high school. That’s because children in rural Lebanon often lack the supportive environment, economic means and personal motivation to complete their schooling.
TFL aims to reduce educational, and in turn socio-economic, inequality by placing passionate, well-trained recent college graduates in underserved schools in Northern and Southern Lebanon. These teachers become agents of change for both their students and for the members of the remote communities surrounding the schools.
Each year, more than 300 graduates from a dozen Lebanese universities, including LAU, apply to be Fellows with TFL. To date, 51 Fellows have been sent to work in a variety of schools across the country including Saida Generations (the educational arm of the Sidon Orphan Welfare Society), public schools in Ibrin, Douma, and Bakhoun, and semi-private schools in Amleyeh and Sahagyan.
Now run by Salyne El Samarany, a TFL alumna, who in 2014 was awarded the UN Youth Courage Award for Education, TFL is a partner of Teach For All, the network of 35 worldwide organizations that base their programs on the model developed by Teach For America over 20 years ago.
With each batch of new graduates, the connection between LAU and TFL continues to grow.
“I was raised in a family where we were taught not to ask what our country could give us but, rather, what we could give to our country,” says LAU graduate Jennifer Al Sayyah, who earned her B.A. in Economics in 2014, and went on to work for TFL. “My experience at LAU helped me meet TFL’s recruitment criteria because I was part of the Outreach and Civic Engagement program and Leadership and Constitutional Education Academy.”
TFL is proud to be collaborating with LAU, and hopes to continue to recruit Fellows from the university, while preparing and encouraging new pools of students to attend college, knowing that the future of Lebanon depends on the next generation being empowered with knowledge and skills.
For further information, www.teachforlebanon.org
In Lebanon: Salyne El Samarany, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org, +961 1 74 37 54
In the U.S.: Diane Kaldany, Development Director, email@example.com, +917-207-2417