New school offers education ‘salvation’ for Syrian girls in Lebanon

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BAR ELIAS, Lebanon (Reuters) – A new girls’ school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s poor Bekaa region is aiming to give girls from conservative backgrounds the chance at a formal education.

Syrian refugee girls take a photo with Noura Jumblatt, founder of the NGO Kayany Foundation, at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Gaining access to education in general is difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, but for girls from socially conservative families who disapprove of mixed schools, it is even harder.

Zahra al-Ayed, 14, and her sister Batoul, 17, were from a village in Syria’s northern Idlib province where women were expected to marry young.

But the experience of fleeing war and living in harsh poverty woke her parents to the life-changing importance of education, the girls’ mother Mirdiyeh al-Ayed said.

“My eldest daughter tells me that she will not marry until after she finishes her education. She even wants to travel abroad and learn,” she said.

Human Rights Watch organisation said in its latest report in April that more than half a million refugee children are out of school in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

In Lebanon, international donors paid for 200,000 public school spaces for Syrian children in 2015-2016, according to the HRW report, but only 149,000 children actually enrolled.

Lebanese and international non-governmental organizations have been striving to fill the gap, and to eliminate the legal, financial and language barriers preventing refugee children from getting their education.

For the al-Ayed family, used to Syria’s system of gender segregation after the age of 12, one big barrier to enrolling the girls was the lack of single-sex schools in Lebanon that accept refugees.

Syrian refugee girls are pictured at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the Lebanese non-profit Kayany Foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

SYRIAN REFUGEES

The new school that Zahra will attend is in Bar Elias in the Bekaa valley and was opened on Thursday by the Kayany Foundation, a Lebanese charity. It educates 160 Syrian girls aged from 14-18 who have missed school for several years.

Those who manage to pass the Lebanese system’s eighth grade exams – usually taken at the age of 14 or 15 – can join the local Lebanese public school in Bar Elias, which Batoul al-Ayed has done.

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The Kayany Foundation school teaches the official Lebanese curriculum, which includes science, mathematics, Arabic and English, in addition to vocational skills.

The school, built from colorful pre-fabricated classrooms, is its seventh in the Bekaa valley, where the majority of the Syrian refugee communities are located in Lebanon.

It was meant to address the Syrian parents’ concerns about sending their teenage daughters to schools for both girls and boys. All its teachers are women and it provides transportation for students between home and school.

“Education is salvation for the refugee girls,” said Nora Jumblatt, head of the Kayany Foundation, at the opening ceremony.

Funding for the school was secured for this year from international charity Save the Children and the United Nations Women For Peace Association, according to Kayany officials.

“I have a dream to become a pharmacist,” Rama, 19, who is preparing to apply for the eight grade exams at Kayany school said. In normal times, Rama would already have been applying for university at that age.

“I still want to go back to Syria and fulfill my dream there, in Damascus University,” she added.

[“Source-reuters”]

E-Scan offers digital marketing insights

The Credit Union National Association recently released the 2017-2018 Environmental Scan. The E-Scan offers insights in 10 primary areas affecting credit unions, including lending, economics, technology and of course marketing. The E-Scan is a must-read for any credit union executive and is also an outstanding planning tool to use.

The marketing section is entitled “The Big Deal Behind Social Media.” It also mentions many of the other top marketing trends for credit unions, including disruptors, regulations, Generation Z, the evolution of marketing, highly personalized marketing, consumer preferences and the humanization of digital. But the bulk of the section centers around social media and engagement.

According to the E-Scan, there are five factors that come into play when brining engagement into your social media efforts:

(1)    Bring value first

As the E-Scan notes, “social media isn’t always about direct response…..once you’re identified as a serial promoter, people will shut you off and tune you out.” Look for ways to engage—not sell—on your social media platforms.

[“Source-cuinsight”]

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Even though most people use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for chatting, there is no dearth of alternatives available. There are privacy-focused options such as Telegram, and sticker-filled apps such as WeChat, so there is a messaging app for every purpose. One such app, Wire, takes a slightly different approach.

Wire’s appeal lies in its simple, clutter-free design that is suitable for both professional and personal use. The app, which is backed by Skype co-founder Janis Friis, let’s you chat, share images, and make voice calls to other Wire users. Like WhatsApp, and some other apps, Wires uses your phone’s contact list to quickly connect you to other users you know. It has recently launched a Windows app to complement its iOS, Android, OS X, and Web apps. Wire’s group calling feature and clean interface made us wonder if it could find a niche that swears by the app. We used the app on various platforms to find out.

True to its claim, Wire does have a neat interface. With a white background, a large and clean font, and a relatively minimalist interface, it looks good and is easy to use. You can sign up with your phone number or email address. This reviewer couldn’t sign up via SMS because he received the verification message around two hours too late, but two colleagues didn’t face this issue, and were able to sign up and verify their numbers without any issues. If you do face this problem, you can always go to Wire’s website and sign up using an email address, which is also hassle free.

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Wire was snappier than WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack (which we use for office-wide chat) and it helped that the app looks really nice too. The Web interface had all the same features and worked without any problems – we had to create a password using our phone, and after that, we could log into Wire through the browser. The new Windows app works just like the Web interface, and looks the same too.

The biggest annoyance we had with Wire was its insistence on making you upload a profile picture. One of our colleagues didn’t do this on the Mac app and he was greeted with a large pop-up asking him to upload a picture. This pop-up couldn’t be closed without uploading a picture and the colleague was locked out of the app until he did. The only way for him to chat with us was to click on Wire’s chat notifications. But if no one messaged him, he couldn’t use the app without a picture.

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Wire lets you upload pictures, add gifs as you type (with Giphy integration), and ping your contacts in case you want to ensure that they haven’t missed your message. The calling feature also worked as expected. Wire worked surprisingly well on a 2G connection, even for calls, but when a colleague sent us a gif, the app just stopped working. It couldn’t load the gif on the slow 2G connection and it wouldn’t let us send or receive messages until the gif could be loaded. We were left wishing for a setting to disable pre-loading of pictures or gifs on cellular connections

When the Internet connection was fast, Wire worked very well for us. Messages were sent and received instantly and we found ourselves happy with the app overall. It pre-loads URLs from SoundCloud, Spotify (not available in India though), YouTube, and Vimeo, which is a nice touch. We wish it would pre-load URLs from all websites – to reveal the title and summary of articles, for example, similar to what Slack does – but that isn’t a big miss considering that it’s not really an enterprise-focused app. All of Wire’s apps are pretty good overall, when you get past annoyances such as uploading a profile picture

But we wish that some of the polish seen in Wire’s design was also seen in the UX. For example, if you read a chat on Wire’s Web view, you’d still get a notification on your smartphone. This smartphone notification doesn’t go away if you read the chat on any other platform, unlike what we’ve seen with other modern apps.

Wire is a nice messaging app overall that could use a little bit of polish to get rid of annoyances. We’d recommend it for semi-professional groups who need a chat app that doesn’t have a million friends and family members bothering you every minute. For this to be effective, make sure that you don’t give the app access to your contacts while signing up, and manually add people you know to your groups. The app is light, loads quickly, and looks great. The downside is that all the people you know are already using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

On the other hand, WhatsApp looks clunky in comparison and lacks the kind of integrations Wire gives you, and the WhatsApp Web interface feels like a hack, though it works just fine. But it’s still the platform where everyone including your forgotten relatives can reach you. Facebook Messenger has many of the same advantages, and is equally usable on a PC or a smartphone.

This network effect that the existing apps enjoy is going to be difficult for Wire and other newcomers to overcome, without some unique offering to really make them stand out.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Flipkart Big Freedom Sale Offers: iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, Sony LED TVs, Android Mobiles, and More

Flipkart Big Freedom Sale Offers: iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, Sony LED TVs, Android Mobiles, and More

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Flipkart sale is matching Amazon’s price on the iPhone 7 32GB
  • But HDFC card holders can get additional, on-the-spot discount
  • Flipkart’s The Big Freedom Sale runs until Friday, August 11

Flipkart sale offers continue into the second day of the Big Freedom Day Sale, and it’s pouring deals and discounts across categories. Electronics, particularly mobiles, remain the hottest categories in sales, and the Flipkart sale does not disappoint on that front. You can get discounts on popular iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, and Android phones in the sale, along with deals on TVs, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, etc. But with so many great deals on offer, it can become a little difficult to determine which offers the most value for your money and so we have compiled the list of best Flipkart sale offers you can get today.

ALSO SEEAmazon Sale Day 2 Offers: iPhone 6s, iPhone 6, LED TV Discounts

Apple iPhone 7 32GB

iPhone 7 iPhone 7

Flipkart is offering discount of Rs. 13,201 on iPhone 7

The Apple iPhone 7 32GB is down to Rs. 42,999 (MRP Rs. 56,200), one of its lowest price points so far. You can get an additional up to Rs. 15,600 off with an exchange offer and/ or an additional Rs. 1,750 off with HDFC Bank card payments for the duration of the Flipkart sale. The price is similar to what Amazon is offering during the Great Indian Sale, but if you’re interested in Flipkart’s exchange offer or want to pay with an HDFC Bank card, then this might be the deal for you. The iPhone 7 is powered by Apple’s A10 chip and features a 4.7-inch Retina HD Display. It features a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera.

Price: Rs. 42,999 (MRP Rs. 56,200)

Link: Flipkart

Lenovo Phab 2 32GB

Lenovo Phab 2 Lenovo Phab 2 Flipkart sale offer

In Flipkart sale, Lenovo Phab 2 is available at discount of Rs. 1,000

The Lenovo Phab 2 32GB phablet is down to Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 10,999) during Flipkart’s The Big Freedom Sale. You can get up to Rs. 9,000 off as an exchange offer. The Lenovo Phab 2 features a 6.4-inch HD display and is powered by the MTK8735 processor supported by 3GB of RAM. It comes with a 13-megapixel primary camera at the rear and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Price: Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 10,999)

Link: Flipkart

Apple iPhone 6s 32GB

iPhone BSNL iPhone 6s Flipkart sale offers

On iPhone 6s, Flipkart sale is providing a discount of Rs. 10,901

The iPhone 6s 32GB is down to Rs. 35,999 (MRP Rs. 46,900) on Flipkart. The exchange offer can let you have an additional Rs. 15,600 (maximum) discount, and another Rs. 1,750 off if you pay with HDFC Bank cards during the sale period. The iPhone 6s features a 4.7-inch Retina HD Display and is powered by Apple’s A9 chip. The smartphone comes with a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Price: Rs. 35,999 (MRP Rs. 46,900)

Link: Flipkart

ALSO SEEAmazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall Sales: Who Is Offering the Best Deals?

Canon EOS 1300D DSLR with lens kit

Canon EOS 1300D DSLR is available at a discounted price of Rs. 23,499 (MRP Rs. 31,995) as part of the Flipkart sale. The DSLR camera comes with EF-S 18 – 55 IS II lens. You also get a free 16GB SD card and a camera bag with the purchase. The camera is powered by an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS based sensor and is powered by Canon’s DIGIC 4+. It includes support for Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

Price: Rs. 23,499 (MRP Rs. 31,995)

Link: Flipkart

Apple iPad Pro 64GB 10.5-inch Wi-Fi

The latest iPad Pro 64GB 10.5-inch with Wi-Fi is down to Rs. 47,405 (MRP Rs. 50,800) on Flipkart’s Big Freedom Sale. You can grab another Rs. 1,750 off the marked price by paying with an HDFC Bank card during the Flipkart Big Freedom Sale. That’s still a very decent deal for the latest iPad Pro. The new iPad Pro 10.5-inch is powered by the A10X processor and features Apple’s ProMotion technology. The iPad Pro comes with four speakers that offer a better audio experience. The 10.5-inch display runs at a resolution of 2224×1668 pixels. There’s a 12-megapixel primary camera at the back and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera.

Price: Rs. 47,405 (MRP Rs. 50,800)

Link: Flipkart

Sony Bravia 40-inch full HD LED TV

The Sony Bravia 40-inch full HD LED TV (model: KVL–40R352D) is down to Rs. 38,999 (MRP Rs. 47,900) during the Flipkart sake. You can buy the TV with a no-cost EMI offer, use an exchange offer to get another Rs. 12,000 off and pay with an HDFC Bank card to get another Rs. 1,750 off. The Sony Bravia 40-inch full HD LED TV comes with two HDMI ports and a single USB port.

Price: Rs. 38,999 (MRP Rs. 47,900)

Link: Flipkart

Lenovo PA 10400 mAh power bank

The Lenovo PA 10400 mAh power bank is down to Rs. 849 (MRP Rs. 2,499) on Flipkart. That’s a decent price for a 10400 mAh power bank. Power banks like these can be great especially if you’re planning to go on a trip and don’t want to be left with a smartphone or a tablet without any juice. Lenovo’s power bank comes with two USB ports, each offering a maximum output of 2.1 A.

Price: Rs. 849 (MRP Rs. 2,499)

Link: Flipkart

Google Pixel XL 32GB

The Google Pixel XL 32GB is down to Rs. 48,999 (MRP Rs. 67,000). You can exchange your old smartphone and get up to Rs. 15,600 off on your Pixel XL purchase during the Flipkart sale. If you’re not keen on buying the new Pixel 2 XL smartphone that is expected to launch later this year, the Pixel XL is still a decent smartphone at this price. The Pixel XL features a 5.5-inch QHD display and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset. It runs Android 7.1 out of the box.

If you prefer a deal on the smaller Google Pixel, check out our picks of the Amazon Great Indian sale.

Price: Rs. 48,999 (MRP Rs. 67,000)

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]