The project “Future Together Now!” under our Community Mobilising Programme Area strove towards improving relationships between host communities and Syrian refugees residing in Bekaa. It sought to establish inclusive structures for conflict transformation, community development and relationship building through community mobilising. forumZFD with its partner organisation Basmeh & Zeitooneh worked with partner Chabab Betheb Alkkher (The Youth Loves Peace) to network with local actors such as women, students, other NGOs as well as key figures e.g. municipalities, principals and religious leaders, which were present at the celebration.
Celebrating the accomplishments with stakeholders
The celebration took place in Bar Elias, a town located in the Bekaa Valley, which today is home to the largest concentration of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The warm welcome by Jamal Mousa, a volunteer with Chabab Betheb Alkkher, was followed by a speech by Rasha Batah, a representative and activist with Basmeh & Zeitooneh, who showed appreciation for the close cooperation and collaboration especially with the local authorities and the Municipality in Bar Elias. Rasha also expressed her enthusiasm about the diverse crowd present at the celebration including different religious leaders as well as municipal employees and Mawas Araji, the Mayor of Bar Elias. The activist also vocalised her gratitude towards everyone involved in the project and her eagerness to continue building future collaborative projects with forumZFD.
Furthermore, the municipality representative had affirmed the necessity of respectful communication between the communities within the area in order to restore and sustain communal bonds. Connecting the two speeches was Mr. Walid al Ways, a Community Activist involved in this project for over four years, praised the spirit and perseverance of local activist groups and NGOs. He emphasised the difference between people committing to peace and people who choose to take up arms, and concluded that only the former can achieve love and peace.
The celebration closed with a reception where an exchange and informal conversations about the project continued.
We thank Basmeh & Zeitooneh for the work within the FTN!1 project and are eager to see what the future holds.