12 August 2015 – Baalbek, Lebanon: Celebrating International Youth Day, Lebanese and Syrian youth presented 15 community initiatives at an event held under the auspices of the Governor of Baalbek, Mr. Bashir Khodr.
The youth-led initiatives were developed during a series of summer camps at which youth from both communities worked together to develop projects with local municipalities to foster understanding and reduce tensions. These summer camps are part of a UNICEF project implemented by the Lebanese Organisation for Studies and Training (LOST) and funded by the government of Canada.
Ms. Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon, noted that International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the creative forces that young people bring to every society, adding “This year’s theme ‘youth civic engagement’ emphasizes the importance of including young people in building social cohesion and tolerance within our societies.”
The initiatives launched at the event include the rehabilitation of a football field for Syrian and Lebanese youth to play together in Britel, fixing of traffic mirrors in Chmestaar to reduce traffic accidents of which Syrians are the main victims, in addition to the establishment of a computer lab equipped with 10 PCs at the Dar Al-Fatwa in Baalbek where free-of-charge computer lessons will be offered to Lebanese and Syrian youth.
Around 600 Syrian and Lebanese youth from Baalbek and Hermel took part in 15 summer camps at which they learned about environmental protection, health, cleanliness and personal hygiene, social cohesion, and life skills to empower women and girls.
These two-month camps provided a platform to promote social cohesion among 600 youth from the two communities and enable Syrian and Lebanese youth are engaged in identifying local community needs and jointly devising campaigns to tackle these needs.
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