Spring of Solidarity in Akkar

Easter Peace March 2019, Qadisha Valley

Spring has arrived at northern Lebanon! As nature blossoms in Akkar, we also want peace and genuine friendship blossom in the region. We will achieve this by fostering spiritual solidarity among people of the different communities, organising several special events on the ocassion of important religious celebrations.

With your support, these events will become precious moments in which people of all communities will meet, share and commit to a common cause: the future of the youth!

WHERE ARE WE

Tell Abbas refugee settlements

Amid the beauty of Spring the Syrian crisis has not lost a bit of its brutality. Home to almost one Syrian refugee per capita, the region of Akkar continues to be its harshest frontline.

Historically battered by sectarian conflicts and structural poverty, and after 30 years of civil war, the Lebanese region of Akkar faces an enormous challenge: it is home to the highest density of Syrian refugees per capita in the country. This population, scattered in informal settlements and shelters, is a rich mosaic of religious and regional identities. Although strongly pressured by local authorities to return to Syria, their hope of a safe return home has vanished.

WHO ARE WE

Michael, Ignacio, Fritz, Tara and Maya!

We are a small team of international volunteers working for peacebuilding and solidarity between all communities in Akkar. We are here in northern Lebanon as the Spring Team of Relief & Reconciliation, a small NGO established in the region six years ago to foster genuine friendship and spiritual solidarity between people of different communities to help attenuate the Syrian conflict.

Relief & Reconciliation currently runs daily classes of school support for well over 350 children, both Syrian and of deprived Lebanese families. However, community building and conflict transformation must aim well beyond such daily presence.

OUR PROJECT

Our goal is to organise several special events that will help solidarity and friendship between communities blossom! This season is a great opportunity because several religious festivities happen close to each other: Christians celebrated Easter while Muslims are celebrating Ramadan. We want to share these special occasions of peace, prayer and fraternity with the people we serve. No better opportunities exist to integrate communities than to invite them to share and learn from each other’s customs and beliefs.

We have organised three different events.

First, we organised some weeks ago the ‘Easter Peace March’, which brought Christians and Muslims together in the holy valley of Qadisha to walk and pray for peace. It was a very special moment for those that live trapped in camps and informal settlements, often unable to travel outside. It was a moment of friendship and sharing amidst the stunning beauty of Lebanon’s high mountains.

Interreligious prayer at the Qadisha Valley

Second, the ‘Peace Iftar’ will bring once again Muslims and Christians together to break the Ramadan fast in a moment of hospitality and friendship. The holy month of Ramadan is an important moment of the year when Muslims are fasting during day-light and inviting friends at sunset to eat together. R&R Syria has organised one big Peace Iftar every year since 2013. It will be the 7th edition and once again we wish to unite friends from Syria, Lebanon and abroad for this special occasion.

Iftar in Tell Abbas camp

Last but not least, we wish to mark the end of the school year with a big Children Festival, celebrating spring and the achievements of our amazing students. More than 350 Syrian and Lebanese students received daily homework help in the four educational centres R&R Lebanon is running in Akkar. Thanks to the support of local teachers and teaching assistants, they all made it through the school year. We are anxious now to learn about their final results! To celebrate together, we will travel to a nearby natural site with them for a day that will surely mark their calendars.

Homework support lessons are provided daily by R&R

WHAT WE NEED

Our activities are already planned and organised, but we need more funds to make them a success. We lack 2,700€ more to carry out the rest of our project. The participating families have very limited funds and we need to cover all the costs: transportation from the camps, food for the events, equipment for the Peace Work volunteers, etc.

The plans are made. Now we need funds to make them happen. With very few weeks ahead to gather this money, we need your help.

This is a breakdown of the project costs:

  • 1,900 € for the Peace Iftar
    • 300 € for bus transportation of Syrian families
    • 1,600 € for a full meal for 120 participants
  • 800 € for the Children Festival at the end of school
    • 300 € for transportation of Syrian school kids from different locations
    • 400 € for catering
    • 100 € for arts and crafts materials

Please donate now through the following link, using the keywords “Spring of Solidarity”: http://www.reliefandreconciliation.org/donate.html?fbclid=IwAR0-bRLaxvWJUHOyCm9eTWqAVJO9o_4hkY759AClduaP6odAl7k1NtSj3GM

Thank you!

The NGO we support

Relief & Reconciliation (R&R) is a small and independent NGO that is running since 2013 a Peace Centre at the Northern border of Lebanon in the Akkar region. R&R has provided regular education to more than 1,100 Syrian refugee children and Lebanese throughout these years. Currently, more than 350 students are being tended to daily. So far, more than 150 international volunteers of the most diverse origins from around the world have lived and worked at the Peace Centre, joining forces with Lebanese and Syrian teachers of all local communities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s