In a previous blog we introduced Brady and Amber Black at Home of Hope in Lebanon. This month please meet Steven Wilbur who also serves at Home of Hope. Steven joined the staff at Home of Hope in 2016. Born in California, he moved to Texas in 1995 and graduated from the University of North Texas. For several years prior to moving to Lebanon, Steven worked in Seattle but decided in 2016 to move to Lebanon and serve as principal of Hope Academy which was being set up to address the educational needs of Home of Hope.
Children's faces have been blurred for their protection
As Steven became more and more connected to the children at Home of Hope and particularly those attending Hope Academy, he felt himself being drawn to do more for the children who would be forced to leave the Home when they turned 18. Steven, a teacher and educational psychologist, and his co worker Clementine began thinking that perhaps along with the basics of English and Maths “these young people could be taught more specialized digital skills-skills that are both in-demand, and likely to retain their value into the future.” In January 2018 CodeBrave was set up to help these vulnerable young people ( who most likely would end up back on the streets in prostitution or joining a militias to survive) learn and develop technical skills. They learn coding and robotics up to five times per week. The program has since partnered with the private sector and three of the oldest students are now working toward internships at Lebanese tech companies. This type of visionary thinking and action brought to the educational side of Home of Hope provides hope for many hurting and disenfranchised refugees and orphans.
In a recent interview Clementine said it like this: “CodeBrave’s slogan is “Let them write the script of their tomorrow.” This phrase “reflects the importance of ensuring that the digital world, which dominates so many areas of society and industry, is not just reflective of a privileged elite, but is inclusive of and understood by everyone. If we don’t extend tech education to the most vulnerable people, we will only compound the deprivation of the most marginalized; effectively denying them the skills and knowledge that could help them break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage of and poverty.“
Thanks to Steven and his co workers serving at Home of Hope children’s lives are being changed. The digital world and a good education are being made available to those who might never have had that opportunity!