Lebanon’s University for Seniors brings older people back to class : NPR


The College for Seniors is not only a college, it is also a “public well being intervention” meant to encourage wholesome growing old, says UfS Program Supervisor Maya Abi Chahine.

Joseph Barrak/AFP through Getty Pictures

cover caption

toggle caption

Joseph Barrak/AFP through Getty Pictures

The College for Seniors is not only a college, it is also a “public well being intervention” meant to encourage wholesome growing old, says UfS Program Supervisor Maya Abi Chahine.

Joseph Barrak/AFP through Getty Pictures

Suma Rifai is a lady with plenty of accountability. She has raised two kids on her personal, and now helps take care of her growing old mother and father and her canine. However she has all the time had ambitions to be taught. “To be sincere with you, the factor is, I’ve all the time needed to go for the next schooling,” she mentioned.

Suma Rifai is a scholar on the College for Seniors in Beirut. She can be a “Licensed Mother.”

Suma Rifai/Suma Rifai

cover caption

toggle caption

Suma Rifai/Suma Rifai

Suma Rifai is a scholar on the College for Seniors in Beirut. She can be a “Licensed Mother.”

Suma Rifai/Suma Rifai

Now, at age 55, Rifai is realizing her ambitions. She’s a scholar on the College for Seniors in Beirut, Lebanon, an establishment devoted to serving to older folks get probably the most out of their later years. At present, Lebanon has the quickest rising proportion of senior residents in comparison with some other nation within the Arab world. As of 2021, 11% of its inhabitants was over the age of 65, in accordance with Lebanon’s Ministry of Social Affairs. By 2050, that quantity is ready to extend to 23%, making it a super-aged inhabitants by UN requirements. “We’ve a really excessive emigration price in Lebanon. Lebanese youth leaving the nation and older Lebanese adults returning to their residence nation to retire in Lebanon,” mentioned Maya Abi Chahine, UfS’s program supervisor.

“[Seniors] discover themselves sort of alone. And town and the nation would not actually provide partaking alternatives.” The College for Seniors is for college students age 50 and up and, though UfS doesn’t award levels, this system gives a wide range of lectures and programs, protecting matters starting from Neuroscience to Arabic Literature to cryptocurrency.

College students collect on the College for Seniors in Beirut, Lebanon.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

cover caption

toggle caption

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

College students collect on the College for Seniors in Beirut, Lebanon.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

Usually, UfS courses had been held in particular person on the American College of Beirut campus, the place college students rubbed shoulders with college-age colleagues. Nevertheless, for the reason that begin of the pandemic, the mingling has moved on-line.

UfS college students mingle with college-age colleagues throughout in-person courses on the American College of Beirut campus.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

cover caption

toggle caption

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

UfS college students mingle with college-age colleagues throughout in-person courses on the American College of Beirut campus.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

Whereas the transition to on-line studying was tough, Rifai says UfS has offered an escape to life underneath lockdown. “It was like, a savior for lots of people,” Rifai mentioned. “You had been imprisoned, and also you simply had the possibility to fly away.” On-line studying has additionally opened the door for a lot of new college students to enroll in this system for the primary time. 77-year-old Jaques Ekmekji was by no means in a position to be part of UfS when it was in particular person. “I used to be virtually residence struck by for operations on my again,” Ekmekji mentioned. “[When] the whole lot become zoom, then that was a fantastic alternative for me.” Since enrolling in UfS, Ekmekji says this system has given him the possibility to discover new curiosities.

College students on the College for Seniors in Beirut are in a position to attend courses on a wide range of topics, together with gardening.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

cover caption

toggle caption

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

College students on the College for Seniors in Beirut are in a position to attend courses on a wide range of topics, together with gardening.

The College for Seniors on the American College of Beirut

“It provides you an actual area for progress in sure areas that you simply by no means considered.”

In the meantime, Suma Rifai, cannot wait to speak in particular person again on the American College campus. “I consider it is a should for the brand new era to see us on campus. For them, they need to see that the hope is there. The hope, says Rifai, that irrespective of how previous you’re, you may all the time be a scholar.



Source link