Submitted by Elias Alhaddad
Lebanon Education Assistance for Development (LEAD) has inspired Malek Haidar to change his plans for the future by providing him the opportunity for after-school activity.
Malek, a fourteen-year old student at Zahle Public School, used to skip school and was nearly expelled for poor behavior and attendance. Then he was required to improve his behavior in order to be accepted in a school play.
Taking an important role in the play, the role of a mother, helped change Malek into a disciplined hard working student, with the dream of becoming a professional actor. “I know that to become an actor I will have to work hard and doing well in school is a large part of that,” said Malek.
The change in his attitude was noticeable to his parents, friends, and teachers, who were amazed at his discipline and new perseverance to attend all classes. “He was no longer the same person. There was a 180 degree change. He was no longer a burden but a pleasure,” observes Maria Hadchiti, the school’s principal.
Implemented by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), this extra-curricular activity is one of over 160 similar programs throughout Lebanon, which foster a positive school spirit and environment and develop creativity among teachers and students. These USAID-funded activities include sporting events, health and craft fairs, and community enriching activities. To date, IOCC has assisted 228 public schools throughout Lebanon and supported more than 110 school clubs and 116 parent-teacher associations under the LEAD program.