The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), working in 20+ conflict zones around the world and renowned for brokering peace agreements, rehabilitating 600.000 prisoners in 60+ countries, reintegrating fighters and militias, and providing trauma relief for war affected populations, is celebrating the success of introducing its comprehensive peacebuilding approach in Tripoli, Lebanon, for the first time.
During the project Healing, Resilience and Nonviolent Empowerment for violence-affected children in Tripoli, Lebanon, co-funded by the European Union, 8,000+ Syrian and Lebanese children affected by trauma, conflict and violence have received basic training in stress relief and resilience tools, while 300 children most at risk of violent behaviour, self-harm, suicide, aggression or recruitment, have received deep trauma-relief, empowerment and human values training. 100 specially trained Youth Peace Ambassadors are designing and implementing awareness-raising and peacebuilding projects to prevent and reduce violence in their families, schools and communities. In parallel, we have provided 1700 parents, families, caregivers, community members, teachers, caseworkers, youth and protection workers, with stress management and coping tools and to enable them to provide a supportive and violence-free environment for the children. A selected number of teachers and NGO staff are being trained as trainers to keep multiplying these techniques in their schools and communities on a sustainable basis.
On Sunday 1st December, the Closure Celebration “Let’s Breathe Peace” took place at the Rachid Karami International Fair in Tripoli on 1st December, at 14.00. The new Lebanese and Syrian Youth Peace Ambassadors from Tripoli put together a very inspiring and touching program
- to share their experiences of empowerment and healing,
- to present their peacebuilding projects to create a more peaceful and violence free Tripoli,
- to share the stress management practices they have benefited from deeply with the audience
- to inspire a broader community of nonviolence and human values and share their deep aspirations for peace
“After IAHV’s courses I feel our lives are safe now.” (Youth Peace Ambassador)
“I always wanted to bring peace into society but I didn’t know how. Now that I have found peace in myself, I know how I can spread peace in society.” (Youth Peace Ambassador)
Many young people expressed that their participation in the project changed their perception of their lives and the world around them, and kept them away from reactive patterns, anxiety and frustration. "Today, I am equipped with a set of knowledge and skills that I will keep with me for a lifetime. I will make sure to contribute to positive change in my community, especially since I have experienced as a Syrian refugee wars and tragedies and lived with my family during a period of turmoil that affected us in all respects. I will try to help those around me to ease their anxiety and stress, as the trainers in this program helped me." (new trainer)
Exemplary in having overcome their personal traumas, obstacles and disappointments, these youth from violence-affected backgrounds have changed their behavior from violence, bullying, aggression and depression into acceptance, social action, understanding and positivity.
In the current times of uncertainty and chaos, and equipped with new healing, confidence, skills and vision, they have written and implemented their own peacebuilding projects in their schools and communities on issues that are most close to their heart and lives: prevent and reduce violence caused by school drop-out, drugs and alcohol, prevent bullying throughout their society, reduce violent behaviour towards children in the family, increase understanding about the violence inflicted on girls and families through early girls’ marriages, raise awareness about different forms of violence against women and prevent sexual harassment, up to prevention of cyber-bullying leading to suicide.
Carrying their messages through self made theatre plays, puppet shows, flash mobs, songs, dances, movies and online campaigns, developed with support of Crossarts Association, they are creating waves of peace and hope throughout Tripoli.
The mayor of Tripoli, Riad Yamaq, who attended the Closure Ceremony on Sunday, commended “the group of Peace Ambassadors in Tripoli and their positive initiative to do these projects that will help the coming generations to overcome crises. Even it is was a difficult mission, to light a candle is much better than cursing darkness. In the name of the municipality of Tripoli and all its members I would like to thank all who have been working on this project which is positively influencing and contributing to the revival of the society and reducing the psychological pains of the coming generations to move forward from the current difficult period. We appreciate the support of the EU and the organisations who are running this project. We wish it would be a continuous program for our children who are living these difficult situations.”
People are inspired by the simple but effective link between wellbeing and inner and outer peace and are inspired to share and spread this further for the benefit of their families and communities.
IAHV Team Lebanon & Crossarts
English: Dr. Katrien Hertog, 0044 740 5638795
Arabic: Mr. Christian Matthew 78 890 789 or Mr. Jean Hajjar 071 785 051
IAHV Peacebuilding Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIYHStWX08wZysbOMsPNg2w