We Train …
While the JCC encourages young people to stay in school and complete their academic studies, there are often circumstances which prevent them from doing so. Some young people decide that they do not want to pursue academic studies while others need to join the work force in order to help their families survive. In addition, the exclusion of Palestinians from many professions has killed ambition and has created despondency amongst the youth. Vocational training is therefore a good venue which can provide many with a skill leading to a practical way to earn a dignified livelihood for themselves and their families.
JCC has provided a variety of vocational training programs since the earliest times and has adjusted these programs as times have changed and different skills are in demand. Where once metal work, carpentry, leather work, sewing and embroidery were key programs, the current vocational training programs reflect the current demands.
Hairdressing, Beauty Skills and Barbering
The beauty industry has gained popularity all over the world and this has opened opportunities for learning numerous new skills. Hairdressing classes began in 1994. These classes replaced the once popular sewing and embroidery classes, which lost their allure with the influx of cheap ready-made clothing from the Asian countries, decreasing the demand on sewing services. Hairdressing is offered in two centers: Sabra and Sidon. Classes run for 6-9 months with space limiting the number of women accepted to 15 in every session. The course includes skin and scalp care, the newest techniques of cutting hair, coloring, straightening, curling, and styling. Beauty care is a four-month course offered three times a year in two centers: Sabra and Sidon. Around 9-12 girls attend each session. The students learn the essentials of skin care followed by the latest methods and trends in make-up applications. The course also includes care of fingernails and toenails with the latest fashion in shaping, polishing and adding designs to the nails. Outlining designs on the legs and hands with henna is also part of the course. Visits to beauty establishments to check the latest beauty products and inviting experts to demonstrate the most recent techniques in makeup applications supplies the trainees with the most recent developments in the field and helps the course become more market relevant. Barbering for men was added in 2007 and has proved quite attractive. It is a 4 month course and attracts an average of 6-8 men in every session. It is offered in two centers: Sabra and Sidon. Agreements with old peopleਯmes and orphanages give our students the practice they need as experience is essential in these professions. In order to give our students exposure to the market and members of the community are invited to have their hair done at the centers.
This program was begun in 1994 at the JCC center of Sidon when typewriters were still in use and the electrical typewriter was still new on the market. The program continues and has adapted to the changing world with computers replacing typewriters and the syllabus changing to reflect the variety of new communication tools now in common use. The program is a 9-month course which covers different computer skills, accounting, office management and languages. Fifteen to twenty girls benefit each year from this program. They mostly find jobs easily in the area or in the Gulf countries if their families reside there.
Electronics and Computer Program
The electronics program began in 1964 at a time when few others were aware of this profession. It began in a separate location in Beirut, but moved to the Sabra area bringing it nearer to the Palestinian camps. Employment opportunities were once plentiful for the graduates of this program who had undergone 5 years of training. The deteriorating standards of basic education and the restrictions placed on the employment of refugees have had their adverse effect on this program. Thus the program was reduced to 2 years with the second year being optional. The introduction in 1999 of certain computer programs to the electronics syllabus added great value to the course.
In 2008, a six month course of electricity installation and repair was introduced to the Sabra center. It began as a special course designed for young boys who had dropped out of school. The course has since become popular and 2011 saw young women join this course for the first time.
Computer maintenance was our primary focus when the course first began in 2001. As computers entered every business, school and home, a variety of courses that cater to the different needs and interests of the children, youth, women and professionals are now offered. These are carried out in 3 centers: the Sabra, Sidon and Dbayeh. The time frame and the number of students attending the courses depend on the age and interest of the participants. On average, a class is run when 6 to 8 persons register. Since their initiation, the courses have had a consistent interest from all sectors of the communities we serve.
Around the city of Tyre in the south of Lebanon lie three refugee camps and a number of informal gatherings for Palestinians with no identity cards. Accessible to these camps and gatherings is a four thousand square meter property that JCC owns. Owning this land has encouraged JCC to add agricultural training as one of the vocations it offers. Many families expelled from Palestine in 1948 came from farming communities and the love of land and planting has been implanted in their children. Thus it was decided that agriculture courses will enable the children from these families to continue a long tradition of farming. Another reason for introducing this course is that while the Palestinians are barred from work in many professions, agriculture is not one of them.
In preparation for this program, the land was gradually prepared, smoothed and fertilized. Four plastic houses were erected and a well was dug with an irrigation system installed. Two depleted structures were rebuilt to receive students while a third structure was turned into a green house. Plans for the fourth depleted structure are now being carried out to prepare it as a chicken barn. An introductory course to agriculture is being offered to classes of 12-15 persons twice a year. The course is also open to handicapped persons whose extra effort is much appreciated.
Short courses offering a variety of subjects are also given at various times throughout the year, with subjects ranging from greenhouse planting to soap-making to flower arranging and bee keeping. The farm also welcomes local NGOs to carry out training courses and workshops on a variety of subjects that interest the surrounding farms and the local rural community. Groups such as scouts and clubs from the camps who sometimes need an outdoor space for their meetings are welcomed.