Work, Surf, and Learn

TYO provides students with access to technology and educational resources that are not commonly found in local public schools. Technology-based learning is an invaluable tool in the digital age which has the capacity to transform how students use their time online. In this week’s interview with Mo-ayyed Maklouf, a longtime employee of TYO, he shares how the computer went from being a distraction to a learning exercise in his home. He has two children currently enrolled in the academic support program that offers after-school instruction in math, English and Arabic.


Welcome Mo-ayyed! Can you tell us about yourself and your family’s involvement with TYO?

My name is Mo-ayyed Makhlouf and I am from the Old Ciy of Nablus. I am forty-five years old and I have ten children, seven girls and three boys. I also work as a guard at the TYO building, providing maintenance and security services. My oldest child is twenty-two years old and my youngest child is two weeks old. Most of my children have been enrolled in TYO programming at different points in their lives. When TYO started ten years ago, my wife Husnya was enrolled in the Women’s Empowerment Program and my twins were enrolled in Core Child Program. We were amongst the first cohort of participants involved in TYO programs. My wife was the key point of contact for recruiting new TYO members from the Old City in collaboration with the Outreach Coordinator. She facilitated trust building activities with the community and took the time to connect with local families. My daughter Shaima, who is twelve years old and in grade six, and my son Muhaned, who is ten years old and in grade five, both graduated from the Core Child Program and are currently enrolled in the academic support program. My older children also completed the Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!I) that offered intensive language courses with native English teachers.

Mabrook [congratulations] on the new addition to your family and shukran [thank you] for your hardwork at TYO! Have you noticed any improvements in Shaima and Muhaned’s performance at school since starting the academic support program?

Muhaned is weaker academically than Shaima and benefits greatly from all three lessons in English, math and Arabic. His improvements in math are especially significant. He is currently learning how to do multiplication and responds well to the diversified pedagogical approaches he receives at TYO. The interactive and creative teaching methods used make it easier for him to understand new concepts. TYO has become a second home to my children and me; it is a safe space for us free of the abuse and violence present in this region. There is also a lot of attention to each individual student and his or her specific educational needs. It is difficult for schools to provide this one-on-one support because of overwhelming classroom sizes and persistent lack of resources. The disciplinary approach at TYO also teaches children important lessons about their behavior and how to treat others that is not punitive, but rather educational.

What would you describe as the most valuable impact(s) that TYO has on your family?

Shaima is continuing to meet and exceed the academic expectation for her grade level, whereas Muhaned needs more time. He is easily distracted by computer games and television. Shaima and Muhaned both benefit from having access to TYO’s computer lab and technology-based learning is one of their favorite activities. When they come home from TYO, they research the online games they discovered and show their siblings how to play them. Using the computer to advance academic objectives is very useful since they both like technology and now are using it as a tool to learn, not simply to waste time. On the psychosocial and behavioral level, my two children were very shy and had limited interactions with children from other areas. At first, they would stick to me like glue in my office at TYO, but now they are out socializing with other children that come from all over Nablus and surrounding villages. In the Old City, there is no space for children to play and there are many security considerations. The open space in the building and in the yard are great for children, especially the energetic ones, as they can run around all they want. This makes it less chaotic when they get home because they are tired. Remember, there are twelve people living in my house, so the less chaos the better. Insahllah [hopefully], my younger children will join the Core Child Program when they are old enough.

Mo-ayyaed Makhlouf has been a guard at TYO since 2013. Shaima and Muhaned are participants in the After-School Academic Support Program sponsored by Relief International.  

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