Lebanon rapid post-conflict recovery program weekly report 04 - 11 May 2007



Psychosocial and Youth Activities

Construction of two playgrounds in Nabatiye

Mercy Corps is constructing two community pitches at the Nabatiye Technical School and Toul Technical School. The Nabatiye Technical School playground's contractor is finishing painting the lines and the project will be handed over to the community next week.

In Toul Technical School, the contractor is working on constructing the drainage canal for the playground and additional reinforced protection for the playground wall, and the works are expected to be finished by the end of May and equipped by July.

Children's play in Borj Hammoud

The Youth of the Borj Hammoud Youth Leadership Center coordinated with the municipality of Borj Hammoud, local schools and Mercy Corps staff to re-activate the children's play named "Beitik Ya Siti", translated to "Your House Grandma". The play which was earlier postponed due to political instability, was held on May 11th with 400 children attending from different private and public schools in Borj Hammoud area. The aim of holding this play in particular was to raise awareness to the risks that the natural environment is facing, as well as to emphasize the importance of respecting and preserving our elders' heritage. The youth of the Borj Hammoud Youth Leadership Center believe that the play conveyed the message they wanted to send out. The young children enjoyed the play tremendously clapping several times while the cast were singing.

Art training in Borj Hammoud

11 members of Borj Hammoud Youth Leadership Center attended an art training session on May 6, 2007. The youth performed several beautiful drawings that left Mercy Corps staff and the art trainer amazed. At the end of the training, the youth were asked to fill out a questionnaire. When asked what they did not like about the training all the youth said that there was nothing not to like, they enjoyed the training greatly especially that most of them never had an art training before. "It was a very beautiful experience; especially because we learned about the different types of painting such as soft pastel and acrylic" said one of the trainees "there is nothing I didn't like about the art training, it was really great". The youth will continue to have several art training sessions that will culminate in a mural and an art exhibition.

Children's rights award ceremony in Borj El Barajne

The Borj El Barajne Social Development Center, Borj El Barajne Youth Leadership Center, 25 private and public schools in Borj El Barajne and Mercy Corps held a Children's Rights Award Ceremony at the Social Development Center on May 5, 2007. Seventeen prizes and games were distributed to the first, second and third place winners of the Children's Rights contest. Around 200 children, youth, parents and teachers showed up at the event. The Children's Rights Contest was held to assess the knowledge of the children about their rights. This project was also an opportunity to develop a common activity between the different community groups.

Play raising awareness on people with disability

Mercy Corps staff invited around 175 individuals from different NGOs working with people with disabilities (PWDs) to attend a play named "Aalam Bila Sawet", translated to English: "A world without a Voice". The play, held in Monot Theater on May 7, 2007, was entirely created by a group of PWDs whose ages ranged between 17-25 years, hoping that through this play they could express their thoughts and tell people about the discrimination that they and other PWDs face. Mercy Corps staff wanted to support this talented group and give their "voice" a chance to be heard.

Psychosocial assistance to students in public secondary schools in Nabatiye

Mercy Corps, the Kamel Youssef Jaber Social and Cultural Center and the Public School Support Association are implementing activities in public schools in Nabatiye and counseling students who need it the most. The activities aim at assisting secondary students to overcome stress, increase their participation and free expression in addition to encouraging team work.

This week, Mercy Corps and its partners continued the implementation of activities; overall fewer students attended the activities due to upcoming examinations as some preferred using their free time to study. The trainers, still committed to continue their classes, will most likely carry on for the next ten days.

One of the current activities that trainers are organizing in the schools is writing about social problems, such as the war, drug addiction, and the situation in the country. For instance, Jihane Haiek, a 16 year old girl attending Maifadoun public school, expresses her feelings in a piece entitled 'call to heart' where she states: 'now is the most appropriate time to overcome violence'. Donia Maatouk, another 16 year old adolescent, wrote about the abuse of drugs by youth and attributed the causes to negligence by the parents; stating that parents are absent for their children.

Monitoring closed projects: equipping art rooms in five public schools

Mercy Corps visited Hassan Hallal school, one of the five schools in Nabatiye that it equipped with art supplies after it had won the drawing contest a few months ago. During Mercy Corps' visit, 25 students from eighth grade under the supervision of an art teacher (Hussein Hodroj) provided by Mercy Corps, were designing masks and hats for the festival that their village will organize over the weekend. The students were involved in the preparation of the community events. Another group of students was painting the walls of their art room, previously dirty and grey. Students, together with their teacher, took an initiative to make their closest environment more cheerful.

Cinema and theater equipment in Nabatiye

Last Thursday, the Kamel Youssef Jaber Social and Cultural Center hosted a theater group from Beirut performing a play entitled 'Fatima's Gate'. The performance, attended by 400 Nabatiye dwellers, was only possible due to the earlier cinema and theatre equipment installed by Mercy Corps at the center. Nabatiye, a community home to 40,000 residents does not have a theater or a cinema hall therefore Mercy Corps contribution was much needed. The Kamel Youssef Jaber Social and Cultural Center is planning regular movie projections and meetings with directors and/or actors.

Delivering books to three schools in Nabatyie

Mercy Corps delivered books on the 9th of May to three public schools in Nabatyie: Jbaa, Nabatyie for Girls and Rimal Insar. The gift is an award for winning the Scrabble Tournament held on the 30th of March. Schools were given an opportunity to select books according to their needs. Each school sent to Mercy Corps' appointed bookstore in Beirut an Arabic, French and English teacher to ensure the broadest selection. The contribution will assist the three schools in developing students' interests, knowledge and creative thinking.

News conference held in Baalbek

On May 7th, LOST held a news conference in Baalbek, where Rami Lakkis, LOST founder, presented the different projects that had been implemented by LOST and Mercy Corps during the past nine months, including food and books distribution, construction of playgrounds and parks, English and computer trainings, drawing competitions in addition to many others. Mr. Lakkis also discussed the projects that will be implemented in the future. 100 attendees listened and watched the presentation, amongst them municipality leaders and NGOs. LOST then thanked Mercy Corps for supporting and collaborating on the projects.