REFUGEE CENTRE REVEALS INCREDIBLE RESULTS

The Cultural Heritage and Interactive Learning Development (CHILD) Centre in Lebanon was launched as an alternative learning facility for Syrian refugee children. One of the aims of the centre was to help measure the impact SAT-7’s educational programming had on children who were watching. As the project came to a close, the results showed that the children had made significant progress in many areas.

When Salma first came to the centre, she did not like to interact with others and barely talked. After a few months at the centre, she began to express herself freely and make her requests understood.

My School, SAT-7’s on-air school, was created as in response to the educational crisis plaguing the Middle East and North Africa due to the conflict in the region. When the program launched in 2015, incredible feedback poured in. A 2016 IPSOS survey revealed that 1.3 million children were already watching the program. So, when the time came to scale the project and measure its impact, SAT-7 took this project on the ground.

“We needed to measure how much of an impact My School was having on children and find out where we needed to make adjustments in order to serve our viewers better,” says Nicoletta Michael, SAT-7 Projects Manager.

In 2017, SAT-7 partnered with the NGO, Biladi to launch a one-year project called the CHILD (Cultural Heritage and Interactive Learning Development) Centre, in the mountainous region of Lebanon. Using SAT-7’s multimedia educational approach, the centre functioned as an alternative learning facility for almost one hundred Syrian refugee children who had no access to regular schools. Many of these children had experienced severe trauma from the war and were challenged with learning disabilities.

A NEW WAY OF LEARNING

“Many kids didn’t even know how to hold a pencil, and due to trauma, some of them didn’t speak or even tell us their names,” shares Nicoletta Michael.

“The amazing thing is that My School was created to cater to children’s educational needs, without considering the trauma and learning disability factor. However, at the CHILD Centre, we assessed that our programs were making an impact on those children experiencing the effects of trauma and disabilities.”

Additionally, some changes were implemented in the My School program after realising that the children responded to shorter segments of teaching rather than long 20-minute episodes.

“We realised that we needed to cut the episodes to 15-minute segments, so kids would not lose focus,” explains Nicoletta.

AMAZING ACADEMIC PROGRESS

Incredibly these same children, weighed down by so many setbacks, showed an average of 94 percent improvement in reading and writing in Arabic, English, and French in just one year. In Mathematics the children showed an astounding 100 percent improvement, with 71 percent achieving a score of over 40 percent correct in the test.

“We also saw a great need to create special episodes to teach children healthy hygiene practices,” reports Nicoletta.

These children, who at the beginning of the school year were coming to the centre with black teeth and no knowledge of personal hygiene, learned to sing songs about brushing their teeth and washing their hands. Facilitators reported that children would arrive in the morning telling their teachers that they started showering every morning even when the water is cold.

In addition, the children developed discipline skills and were able to follow the rules of the classrooms and even the games.

Mothers were invited to the centre to participate in training and capacity building workshops.
MOTHERS’ EMPOWERMENT AND GUIDING

Although the main objective of the centre was to help educate the children, empowering workshops were also offered for their mothers. These workshops offered guidance in matters such as hygiene, the importance of children’s vaccination, dealing with adolescents, breast self-examinations, and cooking.

At the end of the school year, the children, parents, and facilitators of the centre gathered together for a celebration. The children sang songs, performed a theatre play, and came wearing special outfits their mothers prepared for them.

Here, the children gathered to celebrate the end of the school year.

Now the children can watch SAT-7’s programs from home, and the mothers are equipped to help them follow the curriculum and guide their children in their learning.

“This project has revealed a great success in SAT-7’s educational and developmental projects,” shares Nicoletta. “Apart from their educational progress, the children’s sense of pride in their culture and heritage, and respect for their bodies and personal hygiene are values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

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