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A campaign for Training and Rehabilitating millions of young Syrians

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and behavioral patterns learned through experience ("programming") and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. Bandler and Grinder claim that the skills of exceptional people can be "modeled" using NLP methodology, then those skills can be acquired by anyone. 

In Syria, two trainers:  Azzam Al- Kasim and Ahmad Khir Al Saadi, took on their shoulders the responsibility to train young Syrians according to this approach as an uncharged personal initiative, in the following lines they told ST about it.

"The campaign started in May, 2011 as a personal action. The whole idea emerged from the desire to show gratitude to Syria and its people who welcomed Palestinians and all Arabs. The initiative aims at supporting the Syrian youth, developing their skills to enter the business market effectively by raising their performance that will have positive reflections on society as a whole especially under the current circumstances in Syria and at a time when HR Development courses cost a lot", Mr. Al-Kasim said.

The beginning was with a course entitled (Diploma in IT Business Management) that included 12 trainees. To their surprise, the course which was supposed to cost 18.500 S.P was offered for free. Then, the campaign started to spread via trainees, then by creating a special page on Face book through which the demand for new courses and number of trainees were increasing. Subsequently, a survey was done to evaluate young people's needs and identify the most imperative focuses to be presented as courses.

Al-Kasim went on to say: "The courses were first held in Damascus until September 2011, when the campaign and Al Mada Association for Social Development agreed on holding some courses in Lattakia (NLP, Dealing with Difficult People, Dealing with Pressure). By the end of 2011, a group of courses were held in Rakka after communicating with Al Rakka Youth Voluntary Team ((NLP, Dealing with Difficult People and Diploma in IT Business Management).The courses in Damascus and Aleppo went on, but the Syrian Coast had the largest share of courses. More than 60 successful courses were held in Lattakia and Tartous. Whereas, in mid-2013 the campaign was recognized as valid by signing a Memorandum of Agreement with SEBC".

Currently, the number of trainees has exceeded 28000 in soft skills, management and IT fields. The campaign is working constantly to enhance its credibility since all courses offered within the campaign are certified from ILLAFTRAIN; the British leader in HR Development. Trainees may gain low cost certificates (optional) presented by ILLAFTRAIN. However, the campaign has already started to merit the participants its own certificates from the SEBC according to high quality training, standards, guidelines and criteria. The campaign seeks, by this credibility, expanding its activities and addressing different segments of the Syrian society.

Al-Kasim stressed that the campaign has reached this point through its crew members' efforts who are in addition to him as consultant,  expert Trainer Ahmad Khir Al Saadi, Trainer Azzam Al Kasim, Master Trainer Lina Deeb and Master Trainer Muhanad Tamim. He also highlighted  the efforts of several public and private organizations which have cooperated with them like: Al Mada Association for Social Development, Syria Trust for Development, The Syrian Center (Tartous), Mar Efram Syriac Band and the Patriarchate of Syrian and  many churches in Damascus, in addition to official and private associations and corporations. He pointed out that the Campaign via its crew would like to thank all organizations which supported and believed in them and their credibility like The Blind Association.

"It is worth mentioning that having young Syrians interested in attending the campaign's courses is a great evidence that the campaign is distinctive and have unique features, which received large media coverage for its activities specially after the campaign set a goal of achieving "A Million Trainees" Al-Kasim declared.

Finally, "the campaign believes that developing human resources is its greatest mission that will lead to the country development ", Mr. Al-Kasim concluded. 

Amal Farhat- Homs

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