It is impossible to miss the excitement and anticipation in the eyes of the three young teens, sitting side by side in the back row of the training room. With their focus darting between their teacher, textbooks and laptop screens, it is obvious that the trio is eager to learn.
For 18-year-old Tamer and cousins, Mourshed and Mohammad, both 14, participating in a ten-day Microsoft Office course is a big deal. “Everything relies on computers these days, hospitals, supermarkets, everything. This is a very important chance for us to learn,” said Mohammad.
“It was my dream to come here, and get a full idea about computers,” added Tamer, who had to leave his own computer in Syria when he fled with his family from Homs to Lebanon in 2012.
The three are participants in NEF’s project to increase access to training opportunities for vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian adolescents. During a period of two years, over 228 young people participated in five different vocational courses and financial literacy training in three locations across Lebanon.
“My family was so happy when I was selected to attend,” recalled Mourshed. “Before we started, my mother told me to be calm and try to learn. This teacher makes it easy.”
The boys agreed that the training offered a range of benefits that extended beyond acquiring new IT skills. They had made new friends, improved their English language skills and were setting both short and long-term goals.
“When this course finishes we are going to share all of the new information and skills we learned in our neighborhood,” Mohammad said, revealing the plan he and Mourshed have to teach their family and friends from their homes.
Looking further ahead, each of the boys had sketched out where they saw their futures. Inspired by the training, Tamer hopes one day to open a computer maintenance shop, Mourshed is saving to buy a laptop and learn more about programming, and Mohammad has set his sights high, “I want to be an accountant in a hospital. I am going to be the first accountant in our whole family.”