We were recently able to deliver our first community outreach project. Core to our vision at FFRL is impacting individuals and communities to bring about social change, inherent in this are the many practical needs of families throughout Lebanon, whether they are host (Lebanese) communities or displaced (Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi etc) refugee communities.
Our first outreach took place in Shatila, the urban refugee camp in West Beirut, populated mostly by Palestinian refugees, though with an increasing number of Syrians as well as poor Lebanese families. The purpose of our outreach projects is that they are conducted by the young people from our forgiveness journey groups, offering them an opportunity to serve and support not only their own communities, but also others. This in turn enables bridges to built and relationships to be developed amidst the sectarian division that runs rife in Lebanon’s diverse society. By engaging with others from different communities, young people are able to overcome perceptions that have been passed down to them through Lebanon’s history of conflict and sectarianism.
By working together like this, young people are able to be seen as ambassadors of peace in their own communities. They are upholding a vision of what they hope peaceful societies will look like in their future, moving beyond just coexistence towards shared existence; sharing resources, shared understanding, shared humanity.
These practical outreaches show how peacebuilding should come hand-in-hand with relief work; unless basic needs are met and structural injustices addressed, a common cry for peace remains a far off hope. With greater monthly support we can conduct these outreaches more regularly and reach more communities.