A smile of hope: life skills training open new doors for the youth of Aleppo
In Aleppo alone, UNICEF supports 12 centres for adolescents and youth, offering a combination of holistic services, inclduing life skills education, community-based vocational training.
Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, 16 August 2017 – For 21 year-old Angham who has spent all of her life in an orphanage for girls in Aleppo, life has been hard. As violence escalated in the city in 2012, Angham, together with her 67 housemates had to flee six times from one neighbourhood to another, seeking safety.
At the beginning of 2017, as volunteers went door-to-door in Aleppo to encourage children and young people to join life skills sessions at UNICEF-supported adolescent centres, they met Angham.
A first-year student of computer science at an institute in Aleppo, Angham reluctantly signed up for the course.
“When she first joined, Angham was very shy and she would keep to herself,” says Alaa, a facilitator, who worked closely with Angham throuhgout the course.
“By the end of the sessions, she was able to express herself so eloquently and would always vounteer to help others in the community, she showed a remarkable character,” adds Alaa with a proud smile.
Angham performed admirably. As part of UNICEF’s mission to include vulnerable adolescents and youth in innovative community initiatives, Angham was nominated to become an activity facilitator for children at UNICEF-supported adolescent friendly centres. She received the necessary training by the NGO partner, and started her work earlier this summer.
“I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to work, I’ve always wanted to help others, and I feel indpendent and confident,”
Angham has a big dream to pursue. She wants to start a charity for children with disability in Aleppo and has already picked out the name: ‘a smile of hope.’
“I was once working with a little girl who couldn’t walk and spent her life on a wheelchair and other children started laughing at her,” explains Angham.
“I love working with children with disabilities to help them reach their full potential,” she adds.
In Aleppo alone, UNICEF supports 12 centres for adolescents and youth, offering a combination of holistic services, inclduing life skills education, community-based vocational training, and access for girls and boys to develop and lead their own initiatives and volunteer opportunities. These services, supported by the Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP) programme aim to equip the most vulnerable adolescents and youth with key competencies such as communication, creativity, cooperation, critical thinking, while also
building their character and strengthening their self-esteem. Community-based vocational training courses include languages, computer literacy (ICDL), fashion design, electrical maintenance and project management, among others. In turn, empowered young people received mentoring from local partners to apply their learning through the implemenation of social and civic engagement initiatives. To date in 2017, 42,000 vulnerable adolescents and youth have benfitted from these programmes in Aleppo.