Dana, trainer of the BRIDGES program.

Hashem, beneficiary of the BRIDGES program

Thanaa, beneficiary of the BRIDGES program

Syria: success of the online trainings for young people and reopening of IECD centers

DAMASCUS – May 31, 2020 – With a team of 40 people, the IECD in Syria has overcome the consequences of the health crisis – including the closure of its training centers on March 23 -by launching online training courses and strengthening its support for young people, entrepreneurs and families. As of May 15, the centers were able to gradually reopen their doors to young people and entrepreneurs. Explanations from Nidal Bitar, director of the IECD in Syria.

What support is the IECD currently offering to young Syrians?

The Jaramana center (suburbs of Damas) and Sweida center (south of the country) offer secure places where young people can thrive and benefit from trainings to get a job.  They regain confidence in themselves and in the future, find psychological support, as well as help for starting a business. For some, these centers also offer them the chance to be able to enjoy the only hot meal of the day.

How have the teams managed to adapt to the situation to allow the young beneficiaries to continue their activities?

The trainers continued their classes via video conference. “Each day of the week is devoted to learning a new lesson. Thus, we have been able to continue preparing our projects”, explains Thanaa, a beneficiary of the BRIDGES training course.

Alongside technical training, trainers also focused on psychological support and life skills that provide an essential solution in these difficult times, where a lot of people lose hope. The allocation of a small budget to cover Internet and telephone costs to prevent people from falling by the wayside. The beneficiaries’ commitment and cooperation were behind the success of these online training courses. “It was the first time I followed online classes and I really enjoyed the approach because it allowed us to be more productive”, explains Hishem.

Furthermore, the Sweida Center has launched the Stay Positive initiative that broadcasts short videos and conferences that could help families and young people to overcome this crisis.

How do you see the future of training now that the centres are reopening? 

The Covid-19 crisis has enabled us to broaden our courses to other topics, for example health awareness modules. It also pushed us to offer online courses, and we noticed that there was a real demand: we received more than 1,000 applications following the opening of registrations for online courses by the Jaramana and Sweida centers! We will therefore develop new online training modules. These lessons will complement face-to-face training, because they do not replace human contact and social ties. “The students enjoyed these classes but they are still waiting to be able to return to the centers”, notes Dima, a trainer of the Bridges program. Thanaa confirms: “Although we really enjoyed the online classes, we can’t wait to get back to the centers to work in a more concrete manner and see the fruit of our labor. We want to be proud of ourselves, as well as our teachers. “

In Syria, the creation of a new training program, adapted to the needs of young people, entrepreneurs and families, makes it possible to reach and support more people. Agile and well-connected to the people she supports, the IECD team in Syria has thus been able to adapt, to commit effectively to the most vulnerable.