This is the story of Hassan Hassan, a daring man who wants to better his community. Born in Aleppo, he was forced to flee Syria in 2015, leaving his family and education behind in search of safety.
Hassan, who now studies Accounting with a scholarship from SPARK and Al Fakhoora, describes education as “a launch pad” for his career. However, he always felt that he wanted to give back to the community around him too, his host community in Lebanon. Alongside his studies, Hassan enrolled in the extra curricular courses on offer through the scholarship – Economic Empowerment, Psychosocial Support and Civic Leadership.
“What I learned during the Civic Leadership course is that we need to make a positive change in our society”, explained Hassan. He is one of the founding members of the Association of University Students in Lebanon (AUSL) a group of affected youth trying to help others. The goal of this association was to support other students regardless of their age, race, religion or nationality in finding education opportunities all over Lebanon and the Middle East.
In recent months, AUSL has expanded and now give regular seminars to other students. They are also becoming active in communities – making repairs to an orphanage, campaigning against violence towards women and most recently, a beach clean-up and turtle conservation awareness campaign.
Hassan and his team galvanised 15 of his fellow students to participate in a litter-picking initiative in the South of Lebanon. Using campaign skills he’d learnt in the Civic Leadership course, he was able to encourage his peers that: “cleaning beaches is important because a polluted environment can kill marine life, spread diseases and impact tourism, which is one of the most important elements contributing to the country’s economy.”
Through the Civic Leadership workshops, Hassan knew exactly how to engage people. Brochures were handed out, a booth was set up, a music stand attracted passers-by and the team even coordinated a meeting between official government representatives from the area.
The future looks bright for Hassan: “My opportunity came when I got introduced to SPARK, because I am a man with no limits to my ambition”.