Lilian Jouni is a 14 years old Lebanese-Ethiopian student that attends the Masar community center daily. She lives with her mother and sister in Sur, Lebanon while her father lives abroad maintaining limited contact with his children.
Due to challenges of accessing formal papers, Lilian was unable to register in formal schooling. Her mom, who works daily cleaning houses to make a living for her and her children, was so eager for her daughters to gain an education that she hired a home tutor so they could learn to read and write. For Lilian, it was never enough. She was unhappy since she was never able to make friends or experience what it was like to go to school. Her mother learned of the Masar community center and asked if she could enroll Lilian and her sister Zainab in the informal education program so they could be as “close to a "normal life as possible.”
Since then Lilian and her sister have had no trouble integrating with their classmates and making new friends, they express positivity and dedication to learning that was witnessed strongly by the teachers. Lilian claims that "the center is her happy place" because she gets to experience what she was unable to as a child growing up. She claims it is also her “safe space” because at the center she doesn’t face any bullying as she does in her own community, mainly due to racism and discrimination, with most people outside viewing her as “inferior.” Lilian is currently enrolled in the music and digital training programs, and Mourjjan4Children's Creative Workshop. Lilian aspires to be a doctor in the future and believes that studying and education are the first steps towards success.