“Life is all about achieving your goals.” this is what teacher Basma Khazaeleh concluded her reflection with us. If you ever happen to visit Al-Rubae’ Bint Mouawath School in Mafraq, these words sum up everything you come across. With resources stretched to the maximum to accommodate hundreds of Syrian Refugees in two working shifts, the school and its staff are in dire need for capacity building, self-care and to reflect on what makes their efforts worth waking up for every morning. As a part of the Tech Tribes-implemented, UNESCO-funded project that created a Youth Information Center (YIC) in the school, a series of trainings are being implemented to revamp spaces in the school, and introduce new non-formal education methods.
One of these trainings is the “Learning to Live Together” (LTLT) program that started its intervention with teachers by holding a reflection session on the status quo in the school. When asked to choose a picture that represented her reality from a selection of printed pictures, Ms. Basma chose a picture of a boat sailing in the sea that is reflected on the side mirror of a car. She explained: “In the craziness of our situation, you can’t help but look backwards to the days where everything was peaceful and quiet. We used to work less, learn and reflect more, and we would be more supportive to each other. Now we are stretched to our limits with more than 50 students in each class. I do believe our efforts are more worthwhile now that we are serving displaced students, but it is hard, I won’t lie”.
When asked what would be the thing that could help, Basma’s answer was “to look forward, we have to, no, we need to. This is why we are here. I would love to wake up and find that I have 20 students in my class, but I have 50, and I will make sure these 50 students get their right in good education. I think this is why we need to be of more support to each other, and I feel that trainings like yours (pointing to the trainer of LTLT) can be helpful and create a space where we can share and frankly vent out a bit!”
“It looks grim sometimes, but in reality, life is colorful and variant. I’m happy we are discussing values, ethics, traditions and religions. In my opinion, I would not want to give up to despair, I like to interact with everything around me, and make sure that I can reach my goals no matter how small they are”
Basma is not the only teacher with these sentiments; one can sense an air of determination in the school despite all obstacles, as teachers who join the project’s activities keep ensuing in so many different ways by being patient, committed, and giving.