The Will Can Do the Impossible

August 2023

An unforgettable moment. Sally spoke her first words in class!

Sally (Alias), a 6-year-old Syrian girl, is attending the Early Childhood Education (ECE) classes under the “Back to the Future” project at Terre des Hommes Italy education center in Arsal where she lives with her family in one of the nearby camps. From the beginning of the cycle, Sally displayed isolated and introverted behaviors, showing no participation or communication with her peers.

The team contacted Sally’s mother who confirmed that Sally rarely spoke at home and never outside. In the classroom, Sally’s behavior reflected more distress over time, and she was directly referred to both the case management and inclusion departments to create a clear support and development plan for her.

Following the recommendations of the inclusion department, the teacher adopted various activities using diverse learning methods to encourage Sally’s participation in class, especially in group work activities, and to ensure she comprehended the lessons and information being presented. The child was also assigned a couple of responsibilities to help build her personality, such as assisting the teacher in distributing stationery and books to her friends in class, and leading activities and games. These efforts occasionally led to an increase in Sally’s interaction as she started to communicate her feedback and answers through writing on worksheets and boards, facial expressions, and body language.

Furthermore, the child was referred to a psychotherapist and provided with transportation by the project. The caregivers accompanied the child to the sessions where they were provided with recommendations by the therapists to support the child at home.

Then, the unforgettable moment. The class was overjoyed when Sally confidently spoke her first words. Spelling out the letters, she recited the days of the week and the months of the year. Her achievement filled her with motivation and excitement while her friends were clapping in celebration.

Returning back home, Sally informed her mother of what had happened in the education center. She exclaimed, “I am very happy, I like the education center & I like my friends”. She was overwhelmed with happiness while explaining to her mother her achievements at the center.

Under the “Back to the Future” project Sally was provided with the needed safe space, time, and support that consequently led her to open up and express herself confidently.

This project is implemented by AVSI Middle East, and Terre des hommes Italy in Lebanon, and Funded by EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid.