Hello from Lebanon! These last few weeks have been very busy, so this is a brief update of what we’ve been up to here at the FFRL.
Beirut Blast: We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the prayers, encouragement and support we have received since the explosion happened. Thanks to the generous donations of organisations, churches and individuals, we were able to provide financial aid and support to 230 families who were directly affected by the explosion. These families come from the Borj Hammoud area of Beirut, just a few kilometres away from the blast site and where our Play For Peace team is based. During the past few months, we’ve been visiting them not only to provide help, but also to listen to their stories, and to encourage them in this hard time.
Our former Play For Peace center was very damaged by the blast so we found another, bigger 2-storey, spacious building which is finally coming together. We are very pleased and thankful for this place that it’s not only in a key location, but it will also allow us to host a variety of activities, as well as to house Play For Peace and Shabeb Club. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we haven’t been able to see the centre fully functioning, but we were able to finish off some needed maintenance work and make the centre more functional.
We also managed to run some essential training for PFP Coaches, where we talked about our values, purpose and goals, leadership skills, teamwork, and our roles as agents of peace.
The local and national lockdowns due to Covid-19 have meant we had to be indoors for 1-2 weeks at a time (as we write this, we are in the middle of one). However, this proved to be a blessing in disguise, as we have been able to finish some important admin and financial work, as well as it has given us some extra time to work on our curriculum and to start putting together a Psychosocial Support programme in further response to the Beirut blast and the ongoing Economic crisis in Lebanon.
During the visits to the families after the Beirut blast, we realised that many people started to experience mental health issues, especially children and youth. As a response to this, FFRL have developed a Psychosocial Support programme (PSS) that is tailored to different age groups (children, adolescents, youth), and explores how a traumatic event can affect our physical, mental, social and general well-being and what are the different mechanisms and skills we can learn to restore this, and as we do this, to walk alongside them in the process of healing. A couple of weeks ago we ran several pre-assessment meetings with the different age groups, and this has given us a clearer picture of what still needs to be done, to re-develop and re-think etc.
The PSS will be our main focus for the coming year. We will be running the programme weekly, initially in 2 cycles of 3 months each, with around 120 participants in each cycle, split into age groups. We are really looking forward to it!
The Diocese Youth for Christ (DYC) promotes unity among the Christian youth in Lebanon. For the past year we’ve been walking alongside young emerging leaders who are taking over the responsibilities of running the DYC in the area. We had a training weekend in October, where we learned about the role of the DYC, values, leadership, teamwork, what it means to be an agent of unity in the society we live in, etc and we officially commissioned these young leaders for the next few years. We also had the privilege of having the Archbishop of Sidon HE Elie Haddad who shared his wisdom and experiences.
Thank you for your continued support and for journeying with us. We will keep you updated in the coming weeks and months.