In Lebanon, Building Peace and Hoping for Prosperity

Sahar Frangieh, Project Officer for CRS Lebanon, writes from Beirut about how our work helps young people in troubled Lebanese villages:

The global economic crisis is affecting everyone around the world; families are suffering from unemployment and social instability. Inequity among people is increasing. The high price of food and fuel is threatening families’ sustainability, especially in rural areas. However, change can happen.

Rima Sleiman is a young woman whose life was touched by CRS. This law graduate, born and still living with her family in Qsaibe, a rural village in South Lebanon, had been searching for a job opportunity close to her home. She wanted an opportunity to improve her life, contribute financially to her family’s rising costs of living, and at the same time fulfill her dreams.

Although she has a bachelor’s degree, she was not able to find a job in her village and didn’t want to leave for the big city, Beirut. But CRS Lebanon helped turn Rima’s aspirations into reality.

Previously an active member of a CRS program in her village, Rima was inspired and took a liking to working in local development. She started volunteering with the Development of People and Nature Association, a CRS partner, and learned about team coordination, decision making and leadership.

The project builds consensus between different groups in this formerly war-town country. Clashes between different groups and parties are a big problem in some Lebanese communities and they often push people – mainly youth- to escape their village because they feel their voice is not being heard. The CRS-funded groups work together to solve community problems and help meet their needs. Last year, after asking the community what they needed, the consensus group rehabilitated the village’s cultural club, which provides a safe space for children and teenagers.

“I grew up in a culture where I didn’t have the chance to express my opinions or point of views,” says Rima. “Now, thanks to this incredible opportunity, I have the chance to decide on issues related to the community – as well as to my personal life. I feel that I am investing my years of studies for the benefit of the community and my village.”

– Sahar Frangieh

Lebanon is one of more than 100 countries whose people you help when you partner with CRS in reaching the world’s poorest. The global financial crisis has, of course, hurt everyone. It has made helping more difficult even as it increases the desperation of needy people. If you are at all inclined and able to help, know that what may seem an insignificant amount to you is nothing less than lifesaving. Even a little bit can make a big difference.

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