< Back to Stories

Cello Melodies in Beddawi Refugee Camp

Cello Melodies in Beddawi Refugee Camp
In 2012, and after an arduous journey fleeing the war and siege in Yarmouk Palestine refugee camp in Syria
Dana al-Shahabi settled with her family in Beddawi Palestine refugee camp in Northern Lebanon. Like many other refugees from Syria, the 15-year old Palestine refugee girl from Yarmouk camp, did not easily adapt to the situation in Lebanon. But despite the hard living conditions, Dana, who loves music, found a safe haven in her school and musical talent.
“I was very frustrated when we first arrived here,” Dana says, “I am one of 10 people in my family, and the house we live in consists of two rooms, and it was so hard for me to focus on my studies”. When she is upset, Dana tries to bring back happy memories which involves her music instruments back in Yarmouk camp, “I feel nostalgic; I miss my Cello and Qanoun, as I couldn’t bring them with me. I left them in my room in Yarmouk camp, believing that we will return soon” Dana says, “I wonder if my instruments in a good condition after two years, and I often think about them and how lonely they must be.”

Once they arrived to Lebanon, Dana’s family was keen to enroll her in UNRWA’s al-Mazar school so she could join the school’s English support classes, which were provided to Palestine refugees from Syria during the summer vacation. Keeping up with the Lebanese curriculum was not an easy task for Dana, since her English language level didn’t meet the requirements of the adopted curriculum. But with the beginning of the school year, the situation changed, “my efforts during the summer classes paid off when school started,” Dana says, “UNRWA teachers exerted exceptional efforts to help me meet the requirements and teach the subjects that weren’t taught in Arabic such as Math, Sciences and English language, and with time, I mastered the language very well. Now I am considered one of the outstanding honor students in my class.”

The number of Palestine Refugee students from Syria enrolled in UNRWA schools in Lebanon for the scholastic year 2014-2015 reached 6,600 students in 60 UNRWA schools in Lebanon. UNRWA has merged classes in 6 out of 14 schools in which many Palestine Refugee students from Syria, who have been attending special afternoon classes, have joined their Palestine Refugee classmates in Lebanon in regular morning classes. UNRWA has undertaken the recruitment of additional Palestine refugee teachers to support the increased number of students and to provide them with supplementary services.