Teachers of Tripoli Act against Violence

 Caption: photo from the training session of teachers and principals, part of the Violence Free Schools initiative in Tripoli, Lebanon. May 2017.

 

“I always dreamt that my school would be phenomenal. I always wished that it would be a safe space of mutual respect. I thought I had no chance to make that happen, until today.” A clear expression by a teacher from Tripoli that reflects so much about the situation in the schools of the city.

More than 155 teachers and principals from fifteen different public schools in Tripoli and its suburbs met in May 2017 to discuss issues they face every day but speak so little about. The participants came from Tripoli and its neighboring areas to actively take part in positive change in their school environment, believing in the need of the community for such initiatives.

The UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project, is implementing the Violence Free Schools initiative in Tripoli since January 2017 with the generous funds of KfW. The training sessions with the teachers and principals focused on analyzing and understanding the causes and forms of violence. In addition to that, participants were sensitized on the tools that help deal with violence among children and adolescents. They got to express the challenges they face, and tried to propose solutions to solve them. The trainings were organized in cooperation with CAC – Center for Active Citizenship and For Development.

Teacher Amal Ismaiil from Al Jadida Intermediate Public School, was positive despite the challenges she faces in her school. She said: “we cannot judge our students by the environment they grew up in. We have to understand them, we have to listen to them. Even if we have to give up an hour of teaching, if it would make them feel better, let’s give them the safe environment they miss. We cannot give up, our students depend on us.”

 

“We understood today that the issues we face at our school are common among teenagers everywhere in this world. Especially at a time when this generation has been exposed to so much violence on the street, on TV and online all over the world” said teacher Mazen Karim, from Tripoli’s Yazigi Intermediate Public School, during the training session. Karim explained that the training has helped him identify the issues he deals with every day, with the corresponding methods of handling them.

After previously working with the 7th, 8th and 9th graders of these 15 schools, the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project has resumed the Violence Free Schools activity with teachers and school principals from Tripoli.

Teachers have been sensitized on peace building and conflict transformation. They are now equipped with the means to inspire a school environment that encourages students to express themselves freely and respectfully. The teachers now aim at preparing their students to become positive citizens, peacemakers and leaders of the next generation of Tripolitans.