Since 1950 …
In the city of Sidon, south of Beirut, JCC has a center accessible by two refugee camps--Ein El-Hilweh camp, a densely populated camp and a smaller camp Mieh-Mieh. It is also accessible to the old part of the city where a good number of Palestinian refugee families live in poverty.
The center once known for teaching sewing and embroidery, changed according to the need in the late 1990's, to secretarial training and hairdressing. But due to the need of Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria, they are currently running an educational program for the Syrian refugees.
In the heavily populated camp of Ein-el-Hilweh, the JCC has a premise used for informal and recreational activities. Currently, JCC's Centre is being used for the Syrian program. The centre, as a result, was divided into classrooms and the Sidon program began. Many of the children in the camp, who had undergone traumatic experiences from the war before their arrival, were in need of special attention and help. A psychosocial program includes around 70 to 80 children aged 8-13 who attend this program and are benefiting from it.
Education for the Syrian/Palestinian refugees: The plan was to follow the Syrian system of education for the highest classes of the intermediate level and the highest classes leading to the high school diploma. To get accreditation for our efforts, the students have to go to Damascus to sit for the Ministry of Education exams. With the limited capacity of our center, we had planned on 65 students participating. We were amazed at the number of applicants which reached to 580 students in the first year alone.
Tutoring classes: to provide students attending UNRWA and other local schools in the Sidon area camps with the help needed to cope with their lessons. To prevent the alarming rate of students from dropping out of schools, help for students with homework is essential for their success.
English classes: include Basic English language skills for those wanting to join the local schools where languages are needed. Advanced language skills in preparation for university entrance exams are also given. Special remedial classes of English and math are available.