Hands Up is thrilled to introduce our new regular blogger, Melie Pemberton. Melie is a teacher currently living in Beirut, and will be keeping us posted on all things Syria she encounters out there. Read on for her very first Hands Up post!

Hello…My name is Melie Pemberton, I am 29¬†years old and currently living in Beirut.

Melie Pemberton

I arrived here at the end of February to volunteer as a teacher providing informal education for Syrian refugees in Saida. As well as being a very humbling experience, it was incredibly enjoyable and uplifting. Having come from teaching in a private school on the shores of Sydney, it was quite the contrast! Finally putting faces to the people you hear about in the media and seeing how kind, generous and fun they are is something I will never forget.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how this could easily have been a family like my own all living together in one room – a recipe for disaster! I was also struck by how much potential there is among the refugees and how few opportunities they have to build their lives here; they can only work in agriculture, construction and waste management!

Having stayed an extra cycle of teaching, after enjoying it so much, I left to go back to the UK for a few weeks. However, I have now returned to complete an Arabic course so I can communicate better with the people of Lebanon and Syria. I am looking to return to the education sector once the course is finished to help continue the development of the education of Syrians in Lebanon, so that when they can return home, they can help in the rebuilding and economic growth of the country.