Building Confidence that Fosters Growth; “Letting the Years Pass”

The After-school Academic Support for Kids program provides students between the ages of 9-14 with classroom instruction in English, Arabic, math, and homework assistance. TYO’s multidisciplinary approach to education allows students to learn through play in contrast to the traditional methods of teaching widely practiced in the local school system. Program recipients vary in educational levels and the non-formal activities that we offer allow students with different academic capacities meaningful opportunities to engage and learn. Take a look at how TYO helps students build confidence to welcome new challenges, while fostering personal and academic growth in this week’s interview with Ahmed and Amir, two brothers enrolled in the academic support program.

Ahmed and Amir, two students in the academic support program, have some fun between classes.

Ahmed and Amir, two students in the academic support program, have some fun between classes.

Welcome Ahmed and Amir! Can you tell me about yourselves and your family?

Amir: I am thirteen years old and in the seventh grade.

Ahmed: I am twelve years old and in the sixth grade. We are brothers that live in the Khallet El Amoud neighborhood. We have one sister in the first grade.

Amir: Our father is a worker in a gas station and our mother is a housewife and both of them are from Nablus. It is our second session in TYO’s academic support program.

How did you hear about TYO and why did decide to join the After-school Academic Support for Kids program?

Amir: It was my friends who told me join TYO because it is a completely different way of learning than studying at school. I really wanted to get better grades in math and English, so my mom decided to register me in the program. The academic support program is where I can study while playing and having fun. I love my teachers and the volunteers because they take their time working through math problems with me and are always making fun games for us. This week at school I have three exams in math, English, and Arabic. The volunteers helped me study and I am sure I did well! Insh’Allah [hopefully], but I am still waiting for the results.

Ahmed: I am really good at school, but we are always learning from books and that can be very boring. I love that I can play games here and meet new friends all while learning new things. Another thing that I really like about TYO is that they encourage us when we get answers right or our team wins a competition. Our school does not have the supplies for us to do fun activities or to give us stickers when we do well.

Are there any special memories you have from being at TYO that you would like to share?

Ahmed: I will never forget the water balloon competitions we did outside last session!

(Laughing hysterically and interrupting each other)

Amir: We felt so free! It was summer and it was hot, hot, hot! We had so much fun popping the balloons and getting wet to cool off. The teachers and the volunteers even let us throw water balloons at them! This was for sure our best memory so far!

Have either of you noticed any changes in yourselves since you started at TYO?

Amir: I used to be very nervous when I had exams because no one at home could really help me study. Now I know that there will always be someone at TYO that will be happy to help me, so I am not nervous anymore.

Ahmed: When I was younger I did not want to grow up! I knew that the older I get, the more and more I would have to study. If we are already studying 10 pages a night for homework, next year it could be 50, and the year after it could be 100 pages! Now I am confident that I can do well, so I am just letting the years pass.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experiences at TYO?

Ahmed: We always talk about TYO at school and this session we were able to get three of our friends to join the program, just like how people at school told us to come here. I hope that all my friends from school join TYO!

Amir: I am happy that now we have friends at Balata and Askar! I only heard the word camp growing up and that it means refugee, but we never knew any! Now we have many friends who are refugees and live in the camps.

Ahmed and Amir are participants in the After-School Academic Support for Kids program sponsored by Relief International. 

Interview conducted by Marina, Fall 2016 Teaching and M&E Fellow, and translated by Futoon, TYO Outreach Coordinator.