We have only just returned from our latest visit to Lebanon, but I couldn’t wait to send along an update from the Children’s Learning Centre (CLC) and Classroom-on-a-Bus!

The new academic term began on Thursday, 4th October when pupils in Grades 1 and 2 of our Early Childhood Education Programme returned to lessons. Grade 3 were joined slightly later as to allow these older children to confirm whether they had been granted a place in Lebanese formal school before they returned to the CLC. The registration process will continue until mid-November and we have already welcomed 285 Early Childhood Education pupils through our doors. We also look forward to the older pupils arriving to begin the School Retention Support classes next month. These pupils, who will be registered in Lebanese public schools, will need time to settle into their new school year before coming to the Centre for vital extra tuition to help them to stay in formal education.

We were visiting in only the second full week of term, but already everything was looking great! Despite the continuing challenges of working in the region, our teachers were as joyful and enthusiastic as we have ever seen. They have been working especially hard to include new, small touches this year, such as putting pupil names up on their classroom doors, which was lovely to see and really helped to reinforce the idea of the CLC as a safe, stable environment for these children. As always, reviewing safety and efficiency were priorities, and we watched every process at the CLC, from the children exiting the buses and being helped into the Centre by bus assistants and teachers, to the teaching of lessons and the processes at mealtimes. We were delighted to see the new food preparation area in action, and we were even offered the chance to sample the day’s lunch, which was as fresh and delicious as you would expect from a country so renowned for its food.

After visiting the CLC we then travelled on to see one of the Classroom-on-a-Bus vehicles and take part in a lesson with children enrolled from the surrounding camp. Again, the teacher could not have been more enthusiastic or the children more eager to learn.  As we sat in on one of the classes and watched the next class prepare to go in, an energy and zest for learning was apparent in every child we saw. We even managed to lead a quick round of ‘Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ (in English- but we are determined to master it in Arabic before our next visit!) after the lesson, which had covered ‘Parts of the Body’ within their English Language syllabus.

Our next two days were taken up with planning and meetings with government bodies, partners and peer NGOs. We always arrive back in London somehow exhausted and energised at the same time, with new ideas on which we hope to report as the school year unfolds.

For now, I hope this gives you something of a flavour of how things are going. We do so appreciate your support for, and interest in, our work and I look forward to being in touch again very soon.

Angie


Angie Garvich
Managing Director
Al Madad Foundation

[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7408 7896