Against All Odds: Talal’s Inspiring Journey to Success

21 May 2024|JRS Lebanon - Robert Gemayel

Talal*, a Syrian refugee and student at a JRS school in Lebanon.

Talal’s* journey to success is a testament to the power of determination, support, and effective intervention. Displaced by the armed conflict in Syria, Talal’s family sought refuge in Lebanon, facing numerous hardships. However, their lives took a positive turn when they discovered JRS Lebanon schools by chance, setting the stage for Talal’s transformative educational experience.

At the age of 7, Talal joined “Al Noor 2” at JRS Baalbek, but he faced great challenges due to behavioral challenges, which included hyperactivity and impulsiveness. This hindered his progress and also disrupted the learning environment for his classmates. Recognizing the importance of addressing these issues, the school’s social worker, Mariana Elhaj Diab, took proactive measures to support Talal’s development.

Mariana conducted several Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) sessions with Talal to address his behavioral difficulties and implemented weekly evaluations and monitoring of his attitude and academic performance.

Additionally, a behavior modification agenda was set up to encourage positive changes, and a meeting was held with Talal’s parents to involve them in addressing their child’s challenges. It was agreed that Talal would also receive additional support from a private tutor, his uncle, at home.

Through consistent efforts and collaboration between JRS school, social worker, and parents, Talal’s behavior began to improve, and he was able to fully engage in the curriculum, reducing frequent outbursts.

Academically, Talal’s English tutor noticed that he was struggling with reading and writing. However, by incorporating a variety of amusing teaching materials, including LCD displays, videos, songs, posters, and flashcards, they created an engaging and supportive learning environment.

These tools facilitated effective communication and active participation, helping Talal overcome his difficulties with letter recognition, phonetics, and reading unfamiliar words. With each achievement, Talal’s confidence grew, and his grades exceeded expectations.

Moreover, Talal’s disruptive tendencies was successfully addressed by his tutor, by engaging him in enjoyable activities and assigning him responsibilities, he was provided the necessary outlet for his energy. The implementation of a visual day schedule helped also focus his attention.

Through group work and class discussions, the tutor encouraged Talal’s active participation and boosted his confidence. As a result, the 11-years-old child is now confidently taking initiative, preparing ahead, and making short presentations.

Notably, Talal’s transformation went beyond his academic performance. Initially resistant to cooperating and completing tasks, he now demonstrates responsibility and works diligently within established time frames. This newfound sense of responsibility has expanded to various aspects of his life, empowering him to take charge of his education and personal growth.

Talal’s parents, witnessing their child’s remarkable progress, are filled with hope for his future. They recognize the promising environment JRS Lebanon School provides for their child’s education and its potential for long-term sustainability.

Talal’s success story is a testament to the transformative power of education, support, and collaboration. Overcoming the challenges of displacement, Talal has not only excelled academically but has also developed crucial life skills. With the continued dedication and encouragement of his JRS tutors, social worker, and parents, Talal’s journey toward a bright and successful future is firmly underway.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

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