The Children’s Learning Center

The Children’s Learning Center was built in the mid 1800s and was the residence of Saeed Basha Haidar.

During the Ottoman Empire, the mansion acted as the governance for the town of Baalbeck and the North Eastern Beqaa Valley. In recent years, it has been granted ‘Cultural Heritage Zone’ status by the Lebanese Government.
The premises was used by his decedents as a summer house. During the civil war it was abandoned and consequently served as a school run by the ministry of education.

The monument comprised of the following:
– The back end of the original building were the stables that accommodated the Basha’s horses and carriages and those of his visitors and guests.
– Staff quarters that hosted caretakers, security, cleaners and cooks.
– The main house with vaulted arcades, marble flooring and an indoor water fountain, carved from one stone, centrally placed in the principal salon.
– The immaculate outdoor reception area paved with large stone slabs from the ruins of the Roman temples and its sublime water fountain centrepiece that spans back to Ottoman/Arab heritage eras, leading to the gardens which is now the playground.

More than giving, we receive!


The happiness of the children with our simple presence and the enthusiasm that they show for every activity is a beautiful reward and sometimes makes us forget that they went through really difficult events. Because we want to recognize that they deserve all the credit, we start the activities with every group chiming together “nahna abtaal!” (We are heroes).

Let’s play!

Every week we collaborate with Ana Aqra as volunteers, participating in the Psychosocial Support Program (PSS) in different schools in the area of Beirut. We are university students from a variety of countries and diverse backgrounds, but we share the enthusiasm for education and the belief that change is possible if we also bring our grain of sand.

Being part of a PSS Program is an enriching and positive experience, where the activities performed by the volunteers are also regarded as an important contribution for the welfare of the children and young people. And what is even better, we enjoy them!

PSS is based on the idea that the biological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, social and mental aspects of life are fundamental for the well-being of a human being and cannot necessarily be separated from another. And it is incredible all what you can achieve to this aim only playing!

By performing activities related to education, recreation, hygiene, sports, socio-cultural animation or simply playing children’s games, and thus becoming also a child for a while, we help to re-establish regular activities. This is a crucial step in feeling secure and confident that recovery is possible.

Ana Aqra Association 20th Anniversary Celebration

Ana Aqra Association 20th Anniversary Celebration

UNESCO Annual Celebration

Our annual celebration and awards ceremony at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut was a huge success. Students, teachers and administrators from 23 schools participated in the event despite a declared teacher strike on the day. There was an exhibit of student writing and artwork and various stage performances. Awards were given to select schools, teachers, librarians and a principal for outstanding service. A special African drums routine had everyone snapping their fingers and tapping their toes. Lunch and a complementary book completed the day for all those attending. Way to go Iqra’, and looking forward to many more celebrations to come!!

Guide for Professional Development

Guide for Professional Development

Jennifer Myers • Living the Life of a Reader and Writer

Jennifer Myers • Living the Life of a Reader and Writer

Reading and Writing Project : Teachers College Columbia University

Reading and Writing Project : Teachers College Columbia University