The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) has launched the “Youth-Led Initiative” kick-off event, as part of the “Promoting Adolescent and Youth Empowerment and Engagement in Baalbeck through Learning and Skills Programs”, in partnership with UNICEF. The launching took place in “Tamouz” Hall in Baalback on Thursday, September 6th, 2017 in the presence of the UNICEF representative in Lebanon, Ms. Tania Chapuisat, and the mayors of neighboring cities and multiple stakeholders.
The founder of LOST, Dr. Ramy Lakkis, initiated the event with a speech in which he emphasized the importance of youth participation in the “Youth Led Initiative” program in Baalback-Hermel governorate, since it aids in building their personality while contributing to the progress of society. Dr. Lakkis added that it is of outmost importance for municipalities and the community to accept these youth, especially that they possess great potential in different fields capable of aiding society and developing it. Finally, he thanked UNICEF for their continuous support and cooperation that promotes the role of youth and develop their capacities.
Moreover, Ms. Chapuisat also delivered a speech stating that Lebanon is a country in its early life and stages, which means that it is very important to support youth and develop their capacities, since it is an investment for their future and the future of Lebanon. She also added that the “Youth Led Initiative” program is in cooperation between the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training and UNICEF, and funded by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands. Finally, she thanked LOST for its perseverance and hardworking mentality, providing better learning conditions for students and improving coexistence between Lebanese and Syrian refugees.
The event was comprised of PowerPoint presentations which explain in details the implemented initiatives. The presentations were carried out by the youth beneficiaries, who participated in all the implementation stages of the program. Presentations were introduced differently, some performed short sketches, while others performed songs. A group of youth of the YLI program toured around Baalbeck on their bicycles to spread awareness messages among people; these youth presented their initiative on their bicycles. “Before participating in the program, we were children with no clear conception of what our future will be like; afterwards, we transformed into youth who have their goals set for the coming future,” noted Hawraa Othman, one of the YLI beneficiaries. Thus, the event was a platform that enabled youth to present themselves and the initiatives implemented in a creative way, making them stand out as responsible and bright individuals among their surroundings.
The cooperation between LOST and UNICEF led to great improvements in the lives of youth and how they are accepted in their communities. It has built up their characters from inactive marginalized youth to active responsible individuals, and has shed light over their roles as positive assets in society. The funding of governments of Germany and the Netherlands also had a great impact towards achieving this goal in the present and towards the future.