Until recently, 17-year-old Abdo would escape his family’s cramped tent in Bekaa Valley to sleep in the streets, finding field work for area farmers during the day. His parents were worried he was not in school or at home, but they were exhausted from their own work in the fields and caring for Abdo’s sister, who has a disability.
Then Abdo discovered the mobile school operating in his family’s camp. Wearing his only set of clothing, he accepted our partner Sayeed Milan’s invitation to attend. At first some of his peers gave him a hard time about choosing school over field work, but Abdo liked school. The opportunity to learn brought joy back into his life.
“He was hard to deal with at first, but he changed at a remarkable speed,” said Sayeed. “He impressed his teachers and put tremendous effort in on both the academic level and on a personal level.”
Sayeed tells the story of a phone call he received from Abdo’s father one day.
“He was asking permission for Abdo to be absent for two days because his father needed to see a sick aunt and Abdo needed to care for his sister while his dad was away,” said Sayeed.
“He said, ‘If you do not grant Abdo permission, I will not go.’ This made my heart dance with joy because his father appreciates what we’re doing and he takes his son’s education very seriously. Abdo is one of the students for whom we have high hopes.”