Visually impaired students from Nahr el-Bared achieve high school success – UNRWA article

Visually impaired students from Nahr el-Bared achieve high school success

6 October 2010
Nahr el-Bared, Lebanon

Two visually impaired UNRWA students from Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon passed this year’s Brevet exam thanks to the special support they received at school.

The resource rooms installed in UNRWA’s prefabricated school in Beddawi camp (Amqa School) have materials and equipment for the visually impaired, such as Braille publications, teaching aids, talking programs, and Braille printers.

Basel Suleiman, one of the students, said: “I am very happy I passed the exams. My dream is to become an accountant. I will continue my education to obtain the Baccalaureate II, and later plan to obtain a university degree.

"I was very anxious in the beginning, but my teacher encouraged me to fight for success.”

Camp reconstruction

Travelling to school on unpaved roads that turn muddy during winter is particularly difficult for visually impaired students. As Basel explains: "I am displaced from Nahr el-Bared. I was very pleased when I learned about the school foundation stone ceremony. I hope, like with the reconstruction of the camp, they will finish constructing schools soon so that I can go back to Amqa School in Nahr el-Bared."

Ahmad al Sharif was also very proud of his accomplishment. He said: “I will go on to university because education is the best thing in life."

In the past school year, 12 blind and visually impaired students attended regular classes in the Agency’s primary and secondary schools in Lebanon. More continue to register for the new school year. Learning support teachers work with the students in dedicated resource rooms in three out of five UNRWA areas in the country.

University support

As part of a project funded by the European Union (EU), five ex-UNRWA students now attending university also benefit from this academic support.

The improvement of access to education for blind and visually impaired children is part of a larger education EU-funded project (Euro 15 million) since 2007.

The EU is UNRWA’s biggest multilateral donor. As well as this major education project, it has supported scholarship programmes for Palestinian students totalling EUR 4 million.

The EU has also generously responded to the humanitarian emergency in the aftermath of the NBC conflict, by providing EUR 11.5 for relief assistance and EUR 4.6 million for NBC reconstruction. It is also supporting the improvement of environmental health infrastructure in Beirut camps (EUR 4 million).

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