Dear Friends of Salam LADC سلام,
The past week was another big one for distributions at Salam LADC سلام, this time in the form of basic food supplies and livestock. It was business as usual for many of our other activities as we continued to provide education to settlements and individuals, while our medical case load continues to increase, and further coordination with other organizations opens up new opportunities to deliver on our development and communication objectives. We also had the great pleasure to host our friends from the UK Muslims In Need organisation and Qadir Ali Khan and MissRazia Anwar, as we geared up for the Eid Al-Adha celebrations in the Beqaa Valley.
There was no let up for Salam LADC volunteers this week when it came to unloading, packing and distributing aid. In Anjar, using a donation received from Ali and Razia, basic food supplies were sourced locally and supplied to 184 Syrian families spread over 2 refugee settlements. A similar distribution in Taanayel thanks to a donation from Muslims in Need reached 244 families across 5 settlements. Before the week had ended, another donation from Muslims in Need led to 250 boxes of food distributed in 5 settlements in Taalbaya, El Marj, and Bar Elias; while Ali and Razia ensured that the warehouse was already re-filled in preparation for the following week. Food distribution also occurred during our House-to-House visits (15 Syrian-Armenian families benefiting), and personal items for women and children were distributed in Saadnayel. The level of generosity displayed by our donors, combined with the presence of Salam LADC in Lebanon and the amount of work carried out by its volunteers, has seen a staggering estimation of 12 tons of food passing through Salam LADC this week, on its way to almost 700 families living in the Beqaa Valley.
In addition to basic food, Salam LADC uses funds from donors to supply livestock to refugee settlements and vulnerable communities. This week, donations for livestock were received from Razia and Ali and Patric Carlsson. These funds were used to purchase 10 goats, 45 chickens and 3 roosters, which were supplied to 13 needy families in the region of Baalbek, Lebanon.
Our regular activities continued with success thanks to the Salam LADC International Volunteer Platform and our local partner organizations. Play with Purpose ran in two Syrian refugee settlements, leading to cleaner and safer environments through games and activities with children. English classes for Syrian refugee children continued in four local Embedded Community Centres in coordination with UNHCR Lebanon and Intersos. The Binet Shabab English program aimed at older Syrian refugee girls is continuing to grow with 18 students now in regular attendance in El Marj; and our pop-up cinema – CineMaFiMushkila – screened Monsters, Inc. in two settlements.
Turning further afield, Salam LADC since its formation in 2006 has worked to establish emergency first response teams in numerous municipalities across the Beqaa Valley. This week, Salam LADC visited the Qaraoun municipality, where one of these first response teams is based, to provide first aid and emergency response refresher courses. Salam LADC founder Joseph Matta, previously with the Red Cross for many years, conducted first aid and simulated emergency response sessions with the support of our Salam LADC volunteers.
Furthering our involvement in UNICEF Lebanon Back to School Campaign, two of our volunteers – Usama and Ghassan F. Althahir – participated in a 3 day training session at the American University of Beirut. This campaign aims to get the most vulnerable children back to school in a safe, protective environment through their enrollment and retention in the public school system. Salam LADC’s role in this campaign is to disseminate information to individuals or families in need, and to facilitate the appropriate referral pathways for children found to be at risk. Salam LADC meets with such cases on an almost daily basis, and plans to be instrumental in the outcomes of the campaign in the Bekaa region.
The coming week will be another important one here in the Beqaa Valley, where the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is felt heavily by local Lebanese communities struggling to absorb the number of people crossing the border with Syria (at present between 1-in-4 and 1-in-5 people in the Beqaa Valley are refugees). In keeping with Salam LADC’s principles of development and communication, our Eid Al-Adha celebrations, with the support of our UK friends from Muslims in Need, aims to include over 1,000 families in traditional customs, as part of our effort to bring relief and build ties among Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities.
Eid Mubarak to all.
Text by Chris Feigl
Photos by Jon Yee, Razia Anwar and Lou La Klo