Meet Obaida: An Engineer in the Making
“I’m very happy that UNRWA schools opened on time this year. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to register in a private school and I would be on the street,” explains Obaida, an UNRWA student from Deir Qasi School in Saida, Lebanon. Bidding farewell to a summer spent playing football with his two brothers, Obaida carefully organises his books, pens and school supplies in preparation for the year ahead. After a healthy breakfast of fruit, cheese and a few dates, eager Obaida makes his way to school.
Obaida and his family live in Ein El Hilweh, a Palestine refugee camp that is often characterized by the presence of rival armed groups. This hostile environment creates a number of protection issues as children and other vulnerable groups are particularly affected, requiring strong psychosocial support among other vital interventions. For UNRWA students from Ein El Hilweh, education is a critical gateway to a better future.
After finishing school, Obaida’s dream is to become an electronics engineer. With the support of the European Union (EU), the largest contributor to the Agency’s robust and innovative education programme, UNRWA actively works to ensure that the aspirations of our students can become a reality one day. Across Lebanon, all grade 9 -12 UNRWA students receive career guidance support at school to help them pursue their dreams and make informed decisions about their futures. The Agency’s Career Guidance Unit provides students with information about education and employment options through one-on-one guidance, Academic and TVET Fairs, and Right-to-Work awareness sessions held in collaboration with the UNRWA Legal Aid Unit and Employment Service Centres. At Siblin Training Centre (STC), there are a number of courses on offer in the fields of electronics and computer communication engineering. Perhaps, after some consideration and support from the school career guidance counsellor, Obaida will choose to train at STC!
Offering opportunities beyond primary and secondary schooling is as important as supporting the right to education. On 8 October, in partnership with the EU, UNRWA hosted the 8th annual Academic and TVET Fair for nearly 1,000 students in Lebanon. The Fair introduced young Palestine refugee students to representatives from Lebanese and foreign universities, academic institutes, scholarship providers, and vocational institutes. Since 1971, the EU and UNRWA have worked together to unlock brighter futures for over 532,000 students across the Middle East.
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