Lebanon CSP – Transforming Lives Story – Hussein Yassine
Born and raised in The Gambia (West Africa) to Lebanese parents, Hussein began life comfortably enough, with a stable home environment and a loving family. This, however, quickly changed as his mother tragically passed away when he was 10 years old, and his father’s once lucrative business began to collapse. Four years later, the Yassin family returned to Lebanon to live with their relatives and start a new, more challenging life. Despite having to quickly adapt to Lebanese public education, Hussein excelled in school. However, since his family was unable to support him through higher education, he applied for and received a full scholarship under the USAID-funded University Scholarship Program (USP), to study mechanical engineering at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut.
During his time as a student, Hussein was accepted as an intern by USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP), as part of an inter-program collaboration between USP and CSP. During his three-month internship, Hussein designed and conducted workshops and training sessions to ensure the maintenance and sustainability of USAID-provided equipment to underserved communities in Lebanon. In October 2020, his efforts were showcased as he trained farmers in the villages of Barghoun and Badbhoun to safely operate and maintain olive-harvesting machines, which CSP had provided to help bolster the income of around 650 farmers. In parallel, Hussein trained representatives from the Beqaa-based SADA NGO to safely use the heaters that CSP provided as part of an intervention to replace the NGO’s institutional equipment damaged during heavy storms in 2019, benefitting more than 350 local residents.
Reflecting on his role in these projects, Hussein says, “my internship with CSP was an incredible opportunity to see academic theory put into practice and benefit local communities”. Hussein is one of a dozen interns selected by CSP to further enhance its efforts in delivering assistance to underserved communities while supporting USAID-assisted scholars to gain vital skills to enter the job market.
Following the completion of his internship, Hussein was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a master’s degree in Robotics and Controls at the Michigan Technological University in the United States, beginning in August 2021. He chose his degree carefully, taking note of the skills needed in Lebanon. Hussein realized that his education, coupled with hard work and his dedication to serving his home country, could bring lasting innovation and, in turn, could offer a better future to many underserved communities.
In a country marked by a deepening economic and political crisis, where many young people feel that the future holds little opportunity for them, Hussein’s unwavering ambition to not only succeed, but also to “give back” and to “participate in returning Lebanon to prosperity”, comes as a shining light of hope amidst difficult times.
“My internship with CSP was a life-changing experience. It provided a much-needed link between academic theory and practical community support. Seeing the skills that I had learned over three years benefitting real communities, was extremely rewarding and contributed to my drive to succeed in this field and give back to my community and to Lebanon.”