Their Right to Learn
The story behind Their Right to Learn
While the world switched to virtual learning through the covid pandemic, Lebanon was facing additional devastations: The August 4th explosion and the devaluation of the Lebanese Lira. It has been reported by UNICEF that approximately 163 public and private schools have been damaged by the 4th of August blast, affecting over 70,000 students and 7,600 teachers. This left many families unable to afford devices for their children to attend their classes, with some families having to share one smartphone screen.
When education is compromised, so will the entire future of this nation. These children are our future and Lebanon’s chance to rise up. With that, Their Right to Learn was born.
Their Right to Learn is an intervention that emerged under the Education Initiative, by AUB undergraduate students who refused to believe that access to education requires a certain privilege. It all began when these students wanted to give back to their community that is facing major crises. They recognized the bubble they were living in, having access to technologies and WIFI connection to pursue an education amidst the chaos, whilst there are students and teachers in Lebanon who do not have access to these basic means. Their aim was to ensure the continuation of all youth’s education despite the dire circumstances through taking the responsibility of collecting electronic devices and donating them to the students and teachers of the 6 public schools that the Education initiative was partnering with.
Over a span of more than 5 months, there was a shift in the goal through a closer collaboration with the KB Education Initiative team through bringing the focus of the support to the school rather than to individual students and teachers. As such, Their Right to Learn positioned their efforts within the KB education initiative of Transforming Schools into Community Schools. Their target became that of enhancing the school environment to make it more conducive to learning by offering schools computers and the needed infrastructure as basic resources for learning. Their Right to Learn team’s contribution to the vision of the community school was to Establish Computer Labs in the partner public schools.
With that, their Right to Learn initiative moved from securing computer labs for individual students and teachers to creating and renovating a computer lab space in each of the partnered public schools. In this way, the team would be able to provide a long-term solution for current and future students and faculty within the school premises.
Execution of the project
Implementation of this project started by a joint partnership between Khaddit Beirut, Beit El Baraka (BEB), and Thaki, where the coordination between all partners ensured a smooth design, implementation, and execution of the project. Division of roles and tasks was then set.
BEB team was responsible for conceptualizing, designing, and executing the computer lab designs according to specifications of both architectural and civil standards. They were also responsible for providing materials needed for installation in the rooms. BEB secured plastic walls (made from recycled materials), wall paint, gypsum boards when needed, embedded cabinets, electrical sockets and connections, ACs, and chairs.
Additionally, Thaki had the role of securing all the electronic devices required along with downloading the software and programs needed to make the devices fully functional through a special imaging system that they have created.
Khaddit Beirut team was responsible for providing the furniture, including desks, internet connection, and projectors along with their accessories. Through the generous donations of KB donors, funders, and supporters, KB team was able to secure projectors with their accessories along with all the desks needed for the 5 schools.
After a year of fully dedicated work by Khaddit Beirut, Beit El Baraka, and Thaki teams, along with the principals of each of these schools, five public schools now have fully established and operating computer labs, impacting more than 1,400 students and 200 teachers.
The teams and beneficiaries faced many setbacks along the way, however, they all remained determined and focused on achieving their set target. They all kept learning and improving on the go as they knew that the path towards the end goal was not a straight direct one, but rather a cyclic one filled with bumps, U-turns, and multiple reassessments of the plan. Everyone believed in the mission of giving all students their right to learn and knew that dedicating all the effort to one main goal and maintaining the vigor required in achieving it is sure to lead to success no matter how hard the circumstances are
If you are interested in hearing from the principals of these schools about their perspective of these computer labs, kindly check the links below: