Teaching at a Refugee Camp

This summer, I volunteered to teach the children of the Syrian refugee camp in Rafid (my town) English. I’ve already volunteered as a Koran teacher at a Koranic summer school last year, and I loved teaching, and being around kids in general.

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The Syrian school curriculum doesn’t focus much on English; students learn English but at very low levels. So, refugee students face some difficulty in Lebanese schools.

Since the kids are of varying ages (5-13), I gave two classes, the first for the older kids and the second for the younger ones, three days a week.

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The Letter B

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Shapes

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When I returned from The Netherlands on July 13, the kids surprised me with a small party they planned. This made me extremely happy, and just thinking of it makes me almost cry.

Another thing that made me especially happy is when I was walking one evening and I passed by the refugee camp and a child I taught (Abdullah, photo below) yelled “Bee! Bee!” (in English). Turns out he was warning me there were bees on the road.

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Abdullah

On August 18, we hosted a party to celebrate the end of the course. I made some yummy treats, we watched a short video including photos of the kids during the course, and I handed out gifts and certificates.

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Spending time with those kids  changed my perspective of so many things. The refugee camp has been near my house for a couple of years now, but I never knew how very in-need they were until this summer. And I never felt like wanting to help those kids and make them happy as badly as I do now.

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The kids I taught are gifted students that definitely deserve bright futures and decent lives. One day at the end of June, a 14-year-old boy did not come to class, when I asked about him, his younger brother tells me that he found a job in Alay (a city near Beirut, the capital) and he left to live there with his brother-in-law. “He won’t come back,” he said. “And when my father finds me a job, I will work too.”

I have nothing to say about this except that they do not do not do not deserve this. They deserve so much more.

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Angelina Jolie once said: “To actually feel like you’ve done something good with your life and you’re useful to others is what I was always wanting.” And after teaching the kids this summer, I realize that’s what I want, too.


Here’s a list of all the vocabulary and skills the kids learned this summer:

Sounds (short /a/, short /e/, short /i/, /sh/, /th/and /wh/)

Please, sorry and thank you.

Colors (red, blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, brown and orange)

Pronouns (I, she, he, it, we, they and you)

Seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall)

Emotions (sad, happy, mad, scared, tired, proud, surprised and confused)

Wh-words (what, where, why, who, when, how)

Family members (dad, mom, sister, brother, grandmother and grandfather),

Shapes (circle, star, heart)

Contrast words (big/small, tall/short, clean/dirty, cold/hot and fast/slow)

Sight words: in – on – a – an – the – be – no – yes – has – have – see – like – me – at – you – it – but – here – are – is – am – he – she – you – they – we – I  – can – and – it – to.

Letter B (bee, ball, box, baby, bus, bike, book, bread, boy, bird)

Letter C (cat, cow, car)

Letter T (tent, train, tooth, tree, tiger)

Letter D (dad, doctor, duck, dog, donkey, door, dice)

Letter S (sun)

Letter M (mom, moon, man, mouth, mouse, milk)

Letter N (nose, nest, nine)

Letter E (ear, Earth, eye, eraser)

Letter P (pig, pan, pot, pen, pencil, pin, plane, pear, peas)

Letter F (fish, fork, flower, frog)

Compound words (Backpack, butterfly, popcorn, toothbrush, basketball…)


Have any teaching/volunteer tips? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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29 comments

  1. mukulikabasu · January 9

    It was very inspiring to read about your work. In order to become empowered education is essential. It’s necessity cannot be debated upon. Your teaching will certainly make a difference in these children’s lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leen · January 9

      Thank you for your kind words!
      I certainly hope so 🌷

      Like

  2. Soraia · January 7

    This is inspiring and the true meaning of teaching. And look at their happy faces! Thanks for sharing your experience, may I ask how you got to volunteer in Rafid?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leen · January 7

      Thank you! Just made my day 🌷
      I got to talk with the man in charge of the camp, and I said I can teach those lovely kids English.
      Although Rafid is a tiny town, there’re many ways to do good! Last year, my sister and her friends bought those same kids clothes on Eid (check https://museatlife.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/113/)
      Again, thanks for your kind words —Leen 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sanjay M Bhaskar · November 21

    This is amazing. Must be one of your best experience and memory. All the best!

    Like

  4. yorkshireteacherblog · November 10

    What a fantastic experience – for both you and the students!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leen · November 12

      Ah yes! It was such a great experience! Thanks for your kind comment 🙂

      Like

  5. boundlessblessingsblog · October 30

    Wow Leen you r doing an awesome job and your presentation touched my heart. First of all I would like to say a big thanks to you for what you r doing and I too go and teach voluntarily English to kids of underprivileged children. I simply find so much solace and they r such beautiful kids, even go and visit where they stay and meet their parents and simply feel so blessed and one with them. For me Leen we are all one no one is different. There is only Oneness in Unity so why not do something for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leen · October 30

      Thank you!

      I totally agree, we are all one, all equal. Those kids deserve so much more than what life has given them. It’s amazing to know that people like you are helping. Keep doing the great work that you do! 🌷
      Thanks for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennifer Juneau · October 30

    Leen, you are a true angel. The pics of you and your kids are so great, you’re doing amazing work with them. Stay blessed. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. savelifeinau · October 22

    Education and teaching are quite important for refugees in Underdeveloped areas! We really except to see the smile in every kids’ face. but sometimes, disease and their family’s departure also would bring them Irreversible damage; however, the medical treatment level is very poor in some underdeveloped or fighting ares. If these children or their family can come to somewhere which have advanced medical treatment, I believe it would be very helpful. In fact, I have run a campaign which aiming to help patients in medical underdeveloped ares to come to Australia for receiving better medical treatment, we will continuous to post blogs and article on our wordpress: https://savelifeinau.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leen · October 22

      Definitely, medical treatment is extremely important. So many diseases are widespread in underdeveloped countries. Your campaign seems great! Thanks for sharing the link! ~Keep doing the great work that you do! 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Conor Boyle · October 18, 2016

    Excellent and exemplary work!! Nice one

    Liked by 1 person

  9. violingrace · October 15, 2016

    Leen, thank you for your kind wishes on my blog! I am so glad you left it there because now I have discovered you and your sister’s blog and I couldn’t love it more!
    This is such a lovely post- the pictures are wonderful and vibrant and so look the kids. Though I do not forget the darkness they have come from. Our school (in Canada) is currently fundraising to provide swimming lessons for refugee kids who have recently arrived in our city, and so your post has reminded once again the value that every action will provide.

    Best wishes,
    Grace

    Liked by 3 people

    • Leen · October 15, 2016

      Thank you for stopping by, Grace! I absolutely loooved your blog!
      Swimming lessons! That’s very nice!
      Again, thank you! 🙂

      Like

  10. Soraya @ Hello Raya · October 15, 2016

    It’s so beautiful to read about your experience teaching English at a Syrian Refugee Camp. I agree with you – these children deserve so much, but at least you are doing something positive to help their lives. Hats off to you Leen!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Leen · October 15, 2016

      Thanks you so much! Your comment just made really happy 🙂

      Like

  11. janebasilblog · October 15, 2016

    The thing I noticed the most was the way the children look at the camera, with such love and happiness in their faces. They were looking at you.
    Bravo. Keep up the excellent work – maybe you were been born for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. burlwhitman · October 14, 2016

    Bravo! Thanks for writing of your experiences. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nikhil · October 14, 2016

    Admirable!

    Liked by 2 people

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