Student-run device drive, fundraiser aims to help students in Lebanon

Aya Twainy, left, with Keira Dabbagh, right, during a media appearance for Educounts.
(Copyright of Aya Twainy)

A Torrey Pines High School senior has been collecting computers, tablets and other devices to help students in Lebanon continue their education in the face of an economic crisis gripping the country.

“Lebanon has been going through a tough financial and economic crisis, as well as a political crisis,” said Aya Twainy, 16, who started Educount with her friend Keira Dabbagh, a classmate at the Grand Lycée in Beirut. “A lot of families have not been able to provide their children with a proper education, especially after COVID, a lot of the learning has been online. Tablets and electronic devices have been crucial ways for students to learn and do their homework and everything.”

The two started Educounts in January 2021, and are working on registering it as a nonprofit in Lebanon. They said they have been able to help more than 150 students, many of whom are featured on the Educounts Instagram account. Aya moved to San Diego from Lebanon in August 2021.

“It was a very hard transition, especially the culture shock,” she said. “It was very different from Lebanon.”

In addition to collecting tablets and computers that people are willing to donate, Educounts also raises funding to purchase devices. The organization also has ambassadors in parts of the world such as France and the United Kingdom.

“We are hoping to be able to spread as much awareness about how important education is, also about the situation in Lebanon,” Aya said. “We are trying as much as possible to collaborate with other nonprofits that have the same goals as us, to really provide education to as many students as we can. Because a country without education is a country that doesn’t have a future.”

According to media reports in the New York Times, BBC and other outlets, Lebanese banks have been robbed by people looking to reclaim their own money.

Aya said she plans to study bioengineering, molecular biology or another major that allows her to pursue her passion in biology and chemistry.

“We hope in the future it’s going to be even more known, especially if we keep collaborating with other nonprofit organizations,” Aya said. “Hopefully we’ll get more chances in the future to spread our initiative, and we’ll continue working on Educounts as long as we can.”

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