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UNESCO, South Korea help Syrian student chase bright future

AMMAN — Abdulrahman Naseb, 24, came to Jordan at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis with the dream of becoming a pastry chef.

But, Naseb began to feel hopeless as the years slid by as he did not have any credentials. 

However, in 2018, he heard about a technical and vocational education and training programme being offered at Luminus Technical University College at Al Quds College in Amman, and the programme did not require successful Tawjihi scores.

“I needed to prove to myself that life doesn’t stop without Tawjihi and to remember that you must work hard to achieve your goals,” Naseb was quoted as saying in a UNESCO statement sent to The Jordan Times. “It was important to stop looking at this as an obstacle and start looking at it as an opportunity.”

The project, implemented by UNESCO and funded by South Korea, has offered 250 scholarships to young people, providing accredited post-basic education for 75 vulnerable Jordanian youth and 175 Syrian refugee youth in Jordan, according to the statement.

Through the programme, the UNESCO Amman office is working to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Jordan and attain the Sustainable Development Goal that focuses on promoting lifelong learning and ensuring inclusive and quality education for all.

As a recipient of one of the 250 scholarships, Naseb was accepted into the hospitality course and chose to specialise as a dessert and pastry chef. 

“I have mastered cookies and am still learning cheesecake, one version of which is difficult,” Naseb said. “I never look at things as impossible; eventually, if you keep trying, there is nothing too difficult.” 

Naseb completed his course work in October 2018, and then went on to his practical training, which concluded last month. 

“During my practicum, executive Chef Dareen Salah became a mentor to me,” he said. “I continue to consult her about my career and take her suggestions.”

At a new restaurant opening soon in Abdali, Naseb will begin working as a pastry chef. He feels excited but also some level of trepidation. In the past, he has been treated poorly by some would-be employers.

“At one recent interview, the employer was speaking unkindly to me,” he said. “Finally, he said he would give me the job but then offered me a salary that not even a child would accept.”

As he waits to begin his new role, he works on the side as a clown, performing at parties and events, but his ultimate goal is to continue his education so that he can pursue his craft working as a pastry chef in a high-end restaurant. 

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