Taawon (Welfare Association): LIFE – Learn | Inspire | Focus | Engage

Taawon (Welfare Association) is a leading independent Palestinian non-profit civil society organisation, registered in Switzerland with offices in Geneva, London, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, and Gaza. Since its founding in 1983, by a group of Palestinian business leaders and intellectual figures, the organisation has been supporting the development of Palestinian people and communities in the West Bank (including Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, the 1948 areas, as well as the refugee camps in Lebanon. The Lebanon Branch of Taawon, officially registered in 2010, has been actively supporting the Palestinian community in Lebanon since 1983.

Taawon Lebanon delivers a range of projects as part of the following sectors:

  • Education: Supporting Palestinian refugees at every stage of their education, from early childhood education, helping school students at risk of dropping out, and enabling Palestinian students to gain access to university education through scholarships and loans.
  • Community Development: Empowering local communities with a focus on the most vulnerable. The programmes are numerous and varied including: tertiary health care, psycho-social support, environmental health, supporting people with disabilities, vocational training and micro-finance.
  • Arts and Culture: Aiming to preserve the Palestinian identity through a number of cultural and artistic initiatives by supporting a network of eight public libraries in the camps, and support of cultural and artistic events.
  • Emergency and Relief support: Responding to crises by undertaking emergency relief operations while preserving beneficiaries’ dignity. Includes provision of basic assistance, water and sanitation assistance, shelter rehabilitation, and helping children cope during emergencies.

The Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon faces high rates of poverty (more than 66% are poor), and is largely excluded from the social, political and economic life in Lebanon.

Dropping out of school is one of the major issues contributing to low educational attainment in the community (only 5% of adults have completed secondary education) as the rate among Palestinian refugee children aged 6-18 years reaches 18.3% (21.7% male, 14.8% female).

In 2014, with the aim of addressing this issue, Taawon launched a two-year pilot project for non-formal education, titled Skills4Life. The project’s aim was to educate and empower Palestinian refugee children at-risk of dropping out of school with the skills and confidence to unlock their potential, continue their studies, and increase their employability. In total, 840 children were reached.

In January 2016, following the success of the “Skills4Life” project, Taawon launched the “LIFE: Learn | Inspire | Focus | Engage” project. The project has succeeded, making a significant impact on the lives of the participating students, contributing to a reduction in the risk of drop out among most of them.

The “LIFE” project addressed some of the major contributing factors for dropping out of school, such as: low level of English language skills, lack of extracurricular and recreational activities, low self-esteem and conflict resolution skills. By December 2016, more than 200 children (identified as at-risk of dropping out) completed the programme and more than 90% of them demonstrated improved English language skills, 70% of them reported improved self-esteem, and 75% of the parents report improved interaction with their children. As a result, most of them were removed from the “at-risk of dropping out” lists from the schools.