Written by Shahm, the son of the chairperson of SB OverSeas. This summer, the fifteen-year old boy had the opportunity to visit our centres in Lebanon. In light of Youth Day, we want to shine the light on the youth who are a part of our organisation.
I arrived in Beirut on the 28th June and at the time, I could not imagine how this trip was going to make me grow and broaden my horizons.
Three months previously, we had sent a container from Brussels to Beirut and a part of it was for the refugee camp in Saida. With the team on the ground, I went to this camp and we started to unload the container. We opened the packages and sorted the clothes. Each item was placed in a black bag for a refugee family, because they live in harsh conditions there. It took us two days to sort the clothes. During this time, I got to know the teachers and the volunteers, during football games that we did with the teachers and the children of the camp. During these games, I could create a relationship with the children.
The day after, I started to assist a teacher and a volunteer. From 8:00AM to 10:40AM, the teacher and I taught them the Arabic alphabet. After a short break, from 11:00AM to 1:40PM, the teacher and I, his assistant, taught maths to primary school age children. The volunteer was in charge of the English class. Finally, we ended the program with the Arabic lesson. Then, a break was necessary to relax, eat, discuss and play, and prepare the last lesson that was from 2:20PM till 4:30PM. The lesson started with some music and then it was time for the Arabic and English classes. At the end of the day, I went outside and played with the children, but only for 15 minutes as I had to take the 4:50PM bus with a teacher to go back to Beirut with my mother. With her, we went back to where we were staying. In total, I spent two weeks in Saida. The schedule in Beirut was kind of the same, even if the days were shorter (I had classes from 11:00AM till 1:40PM and I did an Arabic class with a teacher).
The two centres are different; the learning tools are adapted to the children. Between life skills lessons, English, maths and Arabic classes, the days are filled with many things to do.
I went back to Brussels with new knowledge and skills that learned during my one-month stay in Lebanon. I want to be more involved in the volunteering projects during the SB Espoir activities. With the volunteering, I can not only share my knowledge with refugees, but they give me so much in return that it is a mutual learning experience based on multicultural exchanges. This is priceless when we see the smile on the face of a child that is happy to learn new things.