“Africa’s Premier Diva”, as named by Time Magazine, Beninese Award-winning singer/songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo paid a visit to the informal settlements in Lebanon (where UNICEF holds a partnership with LOST), a day prior to her participation in Baalbeck International Festivals.
On the 15th of July, 2017, Ms. Kidjo (UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), accompanied by Ms. Tania Chapuisat (UNICEF Lebanon Representative), and Mrs. Nayla De Freige (Baalbeck International Festivals President) along with UNICEF and LOST staff, stopped at one of LOST’s branches at Bedneyel, where they attended a presentation about UNICEF and LOST’s collaboration in the Youth Program, entitled “Promoting Adolescent and Youth Empowerment and Engagement in Baalbeck through Learning and Skills Programs”.
Ms. Kidjo then participated in a focus group discussion of 20 Lebanese and Syrian Youth beneficiaries of the Youth program, who have been placed in jobs as a result of acquired training. She emphasized on the importance of creating a safe space for children, so that they are able to express themselves and strengthen their capabilities, and that displaced Syrian refugee children need it the most.
The delegation then headed to an Informal Settlement, where a Competency-Based Skills make-up training took place. Ms. Kidjo was impressed by the will and determination of Syrian refugee women who still take care of themselves despite the difficult life circumstances they are living in. “We must have the determination, power, and steadiness to stay strong facing whatever circumstances,” Ms. Kidjo stated.
Ms. Kidjo then met two Syrian refugee families residing in the informal settlement, and had a chat with both families. Kidjo, being selected as one of the top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the world by The Guardian focused on the leading and vital role of women in society. She encouraged young girls and women to face fear and overcome it. After meeting a young child, she emotionally noted with admiration: “your Mom is strong, then you are strong.”
The next day during her participation in Baalbeck’s International Festivals, Kidjo thanked UNICEF and LOST for their efforts in providing decent life situations for Syrian refugees and for providing them with hope for a better future through spreading education and peace principles.