It is very essential for members of a mixed society to integrate with one another and emerge in discussions of different topics that have an effect on economy, security, education, and social stability. That is what 20 youth and their 5 trainers are doing every Friday, where they initiate a 5-hour bicycle ride in the city of Baalbeck. The bike rides are part of the Social Onus and Integration Initiatives (SOI) component of the “Promoting Adolescent and Youth Empowerment and Engagement in Baalbeck through Learning and Skills Programs” that the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST) is running, in partnership with UNICEF.
During these bike rides, the cyclists roam around the city and conduct interviews with random members of the community about topics of interest such as: random firing of guns, employment, security, etc. On July 7th, 2017, the bike riders discussed the “Baalbeck International Festivals”. They asked community members about their knowledge of the festivals, its importance, and its effect on the city of Baalbeck. The response of the majority was very positive, and they admitted that the festivals had a great effect on tourism, especially during times of hardships that the city is experiencing today. The responses reflect the true image of Baalbeck, an image of mutual respect and coexistence.
It is worth noting that the community of Baalback perceives this activity positively and reacted to it very well. Every time the youth and their trainer biked around Baalbeck, they were received with smiles and cheering. The importance of this activity lies in its positive effect on the community by spreading smiles and allowing its members to talk about the controversial topics in the area.