Dar El Awlad, in Beit Meri, is home for some of the most vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian children in the area. The students at the school come from diverse circumstances. They either come from broken homes, have become orphans with no linkage to a family, have been abused by caretakers, or have fled war and poverty in their home country. All students at the school have missed essential years of schooling, so there are 4th graders who could be 14 years old when typically they should be 9 or 10. These circumstances make it very challenging. But also make it even more important than ever to give these children the tools to build a better future for themselves.
Our CodeBrave teacher, Hani, teaches 3 classes there each receiving two lessons per week.
We kicked off the project with our SuperCoder course at Dar El Awlad, a course that teaches children coping mechanisms to take care of their physical and mental health.
As part of the course, students created their very own “fit bits” using a micro:bit and some cardboard and held a sports competition in their school playground. They created gadgets to help them engage in deep breathing exercises and to represent their “happy place” as an animation. They made a rock-paper-scissors game and competed in a tournament. They made their own musical instruments, some of them paying utmost attention to the details of their cardboard instruments, unleashing amazing creativity.
One of the students recently told Hani “This is the most fascinating thing ever” as he was demonstrating how his cardboard guitar worked. Two of the students’ school teachers attend our classes as well, learning with the students.
In the long term, we aim that the school staff can deliver our courses independently and can use our game-based techniques to support core learning in other subjects they teach, like math and science.