“It was almost near impossible to find a job after I graduated with a Computer and Communications Engineering degree through a scholarship. My sister who is my biggest inspiration, encouraged me to learn programming. I joined SE Factory a couple of months after my graduation. It was the best decision I made. I learnt how to code and to be a mature developer. But most importantly I learnt how to learn. We continued our learning during the pandemic, I learnt how to keep persevering and never give up, especially when it comes to education. I graduated in May 2020 and I received 8 job offers, which was overwhelming. I currently work remotely with a Software Company in France. I am grateful to the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund for this amazing opportunity, I would love to see it grow in the region. Employment challenges is not only in Lebanon, itis a challenge for Arab youth across the region. This program is not about teaching a subject, they work on the whole person, I value the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund and SE Factory that taught me how to take responsibility, not only for our own sake, but for my community. Every problem has a solution, take it a step at a time.
– Ahmad Mahmoud SE Factory, Lebanon
“I was the first cohort with SE Factory in 2019. It was an intensive course of 9-hour day, 5 days a week. I still had to work part-time, but I made it work. As hard as programming may be, learning the programming itself was the easier part. However, what I learnt is recruiters were no only looking for technical skills, but also skills needed in in the real world. How effective you are as part of a team, can you manage your time, communicate well with people, etc. We learnt what is required now in the programming industry”. It broadened my mind, I learnt you do not need to start something from scratch when you can learn from others. I learnt to build on something that is already tested, in other words not to reinvent the wheel. It changed my mindset and how to view myself differently. I respect and listen to criticisms and different perspectives, I am not afraid of my weaknesses, on the contrary, I use it as an opportunity to learn and to continuously work on myself to improve. The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund provided me more than an opportunity to learn, it provided me with an opportunity to grow and today I am proudly known as a Programmer. Hassan currently works in an HR Software Company in Germany. It was his first interview and he got accepted. “I never imagined I would be here. I am exposed to great experiences and technologies; I make sure not to keep this learning to myself. I share it with all my peers, so they can learn and benefit from it.
– Hassan Salem, SE Factory Lebanon
“I believe education is one of the main building blocks of any community to move forward. Our community was shaken by war, instability, and tension. We need education to be able to move forward. It is not just about graduating with a degree; it shapes our personality and shapes who we are. Refugees need this door opener, they need to get out of the mentality that they cannot achieve, that they cannot reach their goals, just because they are labelled as refugees”. I look up to HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghuriar, he provided a golden opportunity to so many smart young refugees. He taught me the power of giving back. I would like to one day be able to pass it forward, to provide disadvantaged people with the gift of education.
– Leen Jaradi – ULYP – AUB student
“My children used to see the school bus picking up students in our neighbourhood every morning and they used to feel sad”, said Mrs Heba Al Sthtiwi, a mother of 3. “The support of enrolling our children in school has been vital for us and we are extremely grateful for this opportunity that provides our children with education; the most precious gift of all. My eldest son wants to be a cardiologist, my daughter was upset at previously missing 1 year of schooling, she now is so happy back at school, she loves Arabic and has made new friends, going back to school changed her whole morale and outlook on life.“
– Emirates Red Crescent United Arab Emirates
“Maryam Dabdoub discovered her passion for teaching through one of her previous professors during her undergraduate degree, where she was studying on a scholarship at AUB. After graduation, she faced unemployment for a couple of years. She then applied to ULYP and was one of 67 students who was awarded a higher diploma. Through her education, she was able to realize her own dreams and hopes to inspire the next generation. “What I’ve learned through the scholarship is to never underestimate or label anyone. Words cannot describe how much I appreciate the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund who gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion and earn a higher teaching diploma at AUB. I would like to one day be able to help other students like me, achieve their ambitions through education and to not only have the key to their future, but to own the key. When I reflect on my younger years, I did not know if I had the financial ability to pursue higher education. Today, I graduated with a higher teaching diploma and already received 3 job offers. I am determined to help refugees in my community reach their potentials”
– Unite Lebanon Youth Project, Lebanon
Mohammed Bitar from Syria was awarded a scholarship through the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund to study pharmacy at Luminus. He arrived in Jordan 7 years ago and started working at a pharmacy in his local neighbourhood. Where at the time, he tidied up the pharmacy and helped customers with what they needed. He considers his boss as his mentor, who always encourages him to keep learning and pursue his education. His mother is his main supporter, she also always encourages him to continue education. “Pharmacy is my passion; I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to study pharmacy at Luminus; it is a responsibility and a huge challenge, and I am up for the challenge that lies ahead. I have learnt that having confidence, working hard and being persistent all contribute to achieving your goals. My main advice is to never lose hope”
– Luminus Technical University College, Jordan
“Saddam, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee fled to Jordan with his family at the beginning of the conflict, the situation forced Saddam to drop-out of school to work and support his family. He works alongside his father in a metal workshop. Saddam continued to carry the dream of having an education, “I now go to this UNICEF Makani centre, even though my home is far, the bus brings me here, so that I can learn.” Every day, Saddam and some of the children in his neighbourhood board a UNICEF bus and make the journey to the nearest Makani centre to access learning support, child protection, life skills and other services. “My goal is to succeed and evolve,” he says, recognizing the limitation of being out-of-school. “In the centre, I learn Arabic, English and Math, and activities in the life skills sessions.” Saddam explains that his day begins at 6:00 AM and ends at around 1:00 PM, after which he attends lessons at the Makani centre.”
– UNICEF Jordan
“Mounir Al Serawan was awarded a scholarship to study radio and television at the American University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Lebanon. Mounir feels life is too short and wants to take advantage of every minute to learn. He spends his days reading books to help expand his knowledge. When he’s not reading, he participates in trainings in different fields and holds over 20 certificates in leadership, graphic design, photography, journalism, volunteering and more. After finishing his day at AUST, he conducts photography training for Lebanese youth and refugees in his community. He appreciates the curiosity of his students, since photography is an art that requires a degree of inquisitiveness. “I consider myself ambitious and have no limits to where I hope to be. I like to stand out with my ideas, appearance and connection to the world. The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund scholarship exposed me to value education and to understand that learning is a continuous journey, not restricted to the walls of a classroom. We as people need to be educated to survive, to be better and to give back to society. For me, learning and breathing go hand in hand because without access to education, I wouldn’t be the person I am proud to be today and be able to give back to society.”