Anaan has a dream: to own a large field of olive trees back in her home town, Idlib, Syria. In the meantime, while the Syrian War is still devastating her country, she attends one of the seven courses for agricultural workers in Lebanon organized by AVSI and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAECI) with a €1,5million grant. Since 2015, the Training and Education in the Agricultural Vocational Schools in Lebanon project, also called FESTA, aims to improve the quality of Lebanese technical agricultural school educational system through reinforcing teachers technical and educational skills and improving the educational offer for the students of the seven Lebanese agricultural vocational schools.
Today, Lebanon welcomes hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and more arrive every day. The “foreign” presence in the country represents at least one fourth, and possibly more, of the current Lebanese population. This has become a serious challenge for a country where the political balance is already unstable. AVSI has been working with refugees in Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian Civil war. In the camps, AVSI develops educational projects with children, supports women and provide jobs to the men.
After five years of war, it also became necessary to think about the young generations of refugees who will soon start looking for jobs, specially in the agricultural sector, which contributes with 4% of the Lebanese GDP, employs around 8% of the active population, and covers 22% of the Lebanese land. The “Peaceful and Comprehensive Education in Seven Districts of Lebanon” (PEACE) project, funded by the European Union with a €700,000 grant and implemented by AVSI Foundation; and now the FESTA project, were born from this need: assist the Ministry of Agriculture to develop its curricula and provide the schools’ teachers with an opportunity to further enhance their skills.
Living in Lebanon since she had to flee Syria with her family, Annan is happy to have the opportunity to attend FESTA courses. She and her friends have the opportunity to learning many new agriculture skills: how to sow, how to differentiate plants, and how to grow crops better using modern culture techniques. A small step toward her dream.
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