Lebanese students, and Lebanon’s youth in general, are the country’s future; the exact future they saw getting torn into pieces on August 4, 2020.
Following the tragedy, more than 85,000 students were at risk of being unable to continue their education, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This was due to more than 163 schools being physically damaged and at risk of collapsing or needing renovation.
Apart from what was visible to the naked eye, students all over Lebanon had to suffer mental consequences. According to Relief International’s Mental Health Coordinator in Lebanon, numerous students suffered from anxiety and weren’t performing as well as they used to.
In other words, the explosion impacted the grades, mental health, and most importantly the hope that students had.
Some students stayed in Lebanon. After conducting several interviews, there was one common conclusion that was reached: nothing feels permanent. All university students without fail told 961 that they plan on leaving the country once they finish their bachelor’s degree here.
Some students chose to leave the country directly. Each Lebanese person knows at least a handful of citizens that felt like the trauma was everlasting and the only escape was for them to leave Lebanon altogether.
Nour Sabbah, an upcoming sophomore student, felt that any opportunity in Lebanon was demolished and decided to move away from his friends and family to the United States in hopes of finding a future there.
In his words to 961, the possibility of graduating in his country and not being able to find a job was depressing and the odds of him succeeding were almost null.
At that moment, students whether in Lebanon or abroad felt as if they lost all confidence.
And yet the Lebanese remain resilient.
Two years later, while the impact lingers and deepens, the Lebanese community is striving to continue and feel alive once again.
The achievements of Lebanese people in Lebanon and across the globe are a powerful statement of that; startups, Lebanon’s universities, or on an individual level, everyone is working to get back on their feet.
Joe Habre, a former Saint Joseph University (USJ) student, currently pursuing a double degree in France decided to leave the country to escape his fate. However, he addressed the matter from a fresh and positive perspective.
As he told 961, after the initial shock that happened, the Lebanese community came back together stronger than ever and their thirst for knowledge still exists. This year alone, thousands of graduates were celebrating their graduation across the country.
Students are working hard to get the best grades attainable and have the perfect CV to rebuild the future that they thought was lost. These efforts are in hopes of getting a scholarship or a job offer that will also rebuild their hope and confidence.
The youth of Lebanon are currently challenging themselves for their benefit while lifting the spirits of others with their courage, determination, and achievements.
That alone fuels the hope of the nation for a better Lebanon, for in the determination of its youth to overcome and succeed lays the future of Lebanon.