In the summer of 2023 the LFPA ran two summer camps, with the primary goal being to enhance the digital literacy of the young people who attended. At the heart of these camps was an aspiration to provide equal opportunities to children from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds, providing them with both comprehensive education and engaging recreational activities. Such an aspiration was a product of the LFPA’s commitment to addressing the educational and developmental needs of children in the Tyre region, and made possible by the support and funding of the Malala Fund, which the LFPA remains exceptionally grateful for. Each camp had 50 participants, all of whom left their experience with new knowledge, abilities and confidence. The Young Innovators summer camp provided young people with the potential for betterment, both as individuals and for their wider communities.
Both camps took place in the Tyre Region of Southern Lebanon. The first camp, which was available to those ages 11-14, took place from the 3rd to the 21st of July at the Cadmous College. The second, which covered those aged 15-18, took place in the Amal Institute in Abbasiyyeh from the 31st July to the 18th of August.
It is the breadth of educational opportunity that makes these camps really stand out, with everything from coding boot camps with university level courses, to educational sessions on gender equality and nutrition, to the always enjoyable outdoor sports and arts and crafts. Specifics of the activities and education were dependent on which camp, as core goals and lessons were finely tuned to be more suitable for the broad diversity in age range. Educational opportunities in both camps were provided with a focus upon capacity building, helping to create career pathways with skills that are desirable to employers in the digital age. Educational pathways were consistent across camps however the second camp for young people ages 15-18 had the additional benefit of career guidance provided by a master coach. The skills and opportunities presented were aimed at empowering children to feel more self-assured and knowledgeable about the world around them, but also to have fun. The diversity and determination exhibited by the young people who attended the camps led to an atmosphere that was both vibrant and inclusive.
At the core of these camps was the intention to foster nurturing, responsible and confident young people. The LFPA seeks to enable young people from rural and marginalized backgrounds to overcome any barriers they may face, and the importance of such provision cannot be overstated. The markers of success were collated by a report which was based on questionnaires sent to the young people about their time and experiences. 100 young people attended the two camps and proof of success lies in that 95% said they would attend another camp in the future. It is a recommendation that has been made that follow up initiatives would be a positive force in the region and something worth pursuing. The majority of participants rated the camps as 4 or 5 out 5, showing high levels of satisfaction, with the children highlighting their enjoyment of both coding and arts activities in particular.
The success of the Young Innovators summer camps is testament both to the eagerness of the young people who attended but also to the LFPA and their commitment to youth empowerment and the fostering of positive change both for individuals and their wider communities. There is a surplus of videos and images of both camps on the LFPA’s social media which can be viewed for further information, or just to see how much of a positive impact these camps had in a visual medium.