Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, a huge influx of refugees overwhelmed the neighboring countries, especially Lebanon. This influx affected many Lebanese communities, and mainly affected their social stability. Social stability is very important for the progress of society and the maintenance of peace and security. LOST’s project, “A Step towards Social Stability”, in partnership with the French Embassy in Lebanon aims at helping Syrian refugees and local communities to enjoy their basic and necessary human rights.
This project targets the different areas of Baalback-Hermel, in order to mediate conflicts between Lebanese and Syrians, and to break any forms of barriers between them. In addition, the project targets the different components of the community, men and women, youth, mukhtars, mayors, etc.
At the beginning of the sessions, many Lebanese participants opposed the presence of Syrians in Lebanon. They had a very strict anti-refugee stance, but throughout the project, and after being in closer contact with Syrians, many changed their minds, to an extent that one of the participants, Mr. Ali Rashiini offered to host the sessions at his home. His gesture was read as a form of commitment and strong belief in the goal of the project. It is important to highlight that many stakeholders insisted to attend all the training sessions in order to participate, regardless of any external factors such as weather or fatigue. In addition, Lebanese participants with computer knowledge helped the Syrian participants to acquire basic computer skills. This was an action that increased social cohesion and cooperation between host communities and refugees.
Surely, this project had a great effect in changing the participants’ perspectives towards each other. However, it is not enough, and further similar actions could ameliorate the situation to preserve the progress achieved.