Alen Elkhoury (30) from Lebanon is coordinator at Terre des Hommes Italia (TDH IT) in one of the five education centres that have been set up in Lebanon, together with War Child, AVSI and TDH IT and thanks to EU funding. Alen helps children in need: ‘I understand their background’. Read her story here.
Her eyes sparkle a moment when Alen says: ‘Our work at the education centre is not difficult. We believe that we can do it. Each child has the right to be protected and to become someone in life.
Children who have lived through a crisis need help
Children who have witnessed a crisis up-close simply need help, according to Alen. End of story. The Lebanese woman knows what she is talking about as she has been doing this work for about 12 years. She started when Lebanon was still at war with Israel in 2006. It was during these years that Alen became aware of the injustice that surrounded her. ‘Even when I see an old man standing in a bus, it affects me. I go over and help him with his groceries for example.’
Alen started off by giving training and providing guidance to women in prisons and then worked as a social worker with families that are struggling. These experiences come in useful at her present job as coordinator. ‘I understand people’s background and their current situation. I’ve witnessed it up-close year after year.
15 years old and barely spoken a word
The best example is one of her students who had very limited speech until the age of 15. “I will never forget that moment when she started speaking up in class, says Alen. According to her parents the girl could not speak well due to social isolation as well as trauma experienced from leaving Syria; an official medical diagnosis has never been provided. Within two weeks of being at the education centre she started to speak with peers and teachers, expressing herself more freely and benefiting from the safe space of the classroom.
Back to the Future
Alen Elkhoury (30) from Lebanon is coordinator at Terre des Hommes in one of the five education centres that have been set up in Lebanon, together with War Child, AVSI and Terre des Hommes Italy and thanks to EU funding. The ‘Back to the Future’ project aims at sending 18,000 children back to school. Many Syrian refugee children, but also children from disadvantaged families, have not received education for many years as a result of years of civil war in Syria.
Now let’s save the others…
Child victims of exploitation need protection and help. Together with partner organisations and our sponsors we arrange for shelter, care and education. Alen has been able to help many children. Now let’s save the others. Will you help us?