Who We Are The FFRL is a ministry of YWAM Lebanon that started in the heart of Ramy & Roula Taleb many years ago but materialized in September 2015 and has been going strong since then. The aim is to equip youth and young people with mechanisms for nonviolent conflict resolution through the lens of forgiveness. FFRL seeks to break down dehumanizing perceptions resulting from sectarian division and establish a path towards social reconciliation in Lebanon. Background Ramy’s journey into the field of peacebuilding began when he went to Northern Ireland to do a Reconciliation DTS with YWAM Ireland. This opened the doors for him to work in community-based peacebuilding projects, inspired to do so after being born into and living through the Lebanese civil war. Upon arrival in Northern Ireland, he was soon to learn that he would be living alongside a Palestinian. Having been brought up amidst the sectarian strife of Lebanon during that time, this was to prove to be a transformative time in Ramy’s life in breaking down his perception of the ‘estranged other’. Whilst in Northern Ireland, Ramy began to perceive his newfound Palestinian friend through a restored identity, realizing that it was their common humanity that bound them together, each due equal respect and dignity. Ramy developed particular knowledge and experience in the role of forgiveness as a path to peace through his work with YWAM and the International Forgiveness Institute in Northern Ireland. Following this, further experience took him to South Africa and then eventually back to his homeland of Lebanon, working as peacebuilding coordinator for Caritas Lebanon before stepping out to pursue his own vision for what would become the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon. Together with his wife Roula they began running Forgiveness and Peace Journey programmes from their home and in a local school for Syrian refugees, before establishing more courses for Lebanese, Palestinian and Iraqi groups. A key element of their work is the long-term commitment of building bridges between different communities, continually focused on restoring relationships through regular intergroup engagement. At the heart of what they do is a community, family-based approach, recognizing that it is forgiveness that constantly repairs the torn fabric of humanity, of which relationships are at the centre of. What We Do We work in five different areas: • Forgiveness and Reconciliation: we run programmes in local schools, youth and community groups, and also train teachers and youth workers on these topics. • Peacebuilding: bringing people together from different ethnic and religious backgrounds so they can start seeing the ‘other’ as another human being who deserves love, respect and understanding, and in doing so, start breaking the barriers that separate them. • Unity in the Church: our Lebanese society is very divided, and this is also reflected in the Church. We work with different Church groups and denominations locally and regionally. • Training: offering training in Biblical principles of Reconciliation and Forgiveness in churches and various Christian groups. • Refugees: Palestinian and Syrian refugees make up around one-third of the current population of Lebanon. We partner with other ministries that run food distribution, house visits, Bible studies, schooling.
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|Title||Start Date||End date||Application Deadline||Seats Left||Cost|
|Jun 1, 2020 - Jul 26, 2020||01 Jun 2020||26 Jul 2020||02 Apr 2020||4||$1,728.57|
People The people of Lebanon comprise a wide variety of ethnic groups and religions, with the majority split between Christians (Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek-Catholic Melkites, Armenians, Protestant etc), Muslims (Shi'a, Sunni, Alawites) and Druze. The most recent demographics study indicates that Muslims make up 54% of the Lebanese population, 40.5% are Christians, and approximately 5.5% are Druze. Other groups include a large number of Syrian refugees (between 1,200,000 and 1,600,000 as of spring 2015) and Palestinian refugees in the country (over 250,000). People are very easy-going and welcoming. Asking someone on the street for directions is easy since most of them will do their best to help you. Political and religious questions may be sensitive topics of discussion. Lebanon is populated by very open and educated people, especially in places like Beirut, Mount Lebanon and some of the larger cities. Attitudes and behaviors tend to be more conservative in the Bekaa Valley and rural north and south. Lebanon and Beirut were once called the Switzerland and Paris of the Middle East. The recent wars have diminished this status, but the Lebanese have learned to adapt. Their pursuit of happiness and fun overshadows their financial capabilities and political problems. Climate Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool, rainy winters. The sun shines in a beautiful blue sky for around 300 days a year. Please bring clothing appropriate to the season. You should also bring sunscreen protection as the sun tends to be quite strong even in winter.
Rmeileh is on sea road facing the Mediterranean Sea and its 5 min drive from the famous city of Sidon, With a winding old marketplace and a seaside castle, Saida is easily one of Lebanon’s most charming destinations. Though the coastal city sits just 40 km south of Beirut, it has retained a much quainter and more traditionally Middle Eastern vibe than the cosmopolitan capital, making it a perfect trip from Beirut. If you could scroll back through the annals of Saida’s history, you would see a city abuzz with activity for the last 6,000 years. Over the centuries, Saida has witnessed the conquest of Philistine, Persian, Greek, Roman and Crusader armies. Its foundations have been burned to the ground, its riches pillaged and its walls rebuilt over and over again. Throughout its long history, Saida has earned a name for itself as a producer of purple dye, soap, glass and ships. The city is even mentioned in the Old Testament. Today, Saida is replete with relics of its long and fraught past that make it a fascination destination.
General Behavior Wherever you go: TAKE YOUR PASSPORT with you. There are some checkpoints around the cities and major communities so it’s very likely that they will check it. It’s recommended you put it in a plastic sleeve or cover and you keep a photocopy. Do not leave the house by yourself, always go in two’s or three’s (especially women). Also, speak in a normal voice; please don’t shout or laugh loudly (especially women) and always respect quiet times in the apartment and building. Walking around at night in the neighborhood is not a common thing to do unless you have to go to a specific place or you are in a tourist area. If this is the case, then always go in groups.
Currency & Finances The main currencies in Lebanon are the Lebanese Pound (LBP) and US dollars (USD). Both are used interchangeably everywhere throughout the country. We recommend that you bring US dollars with you or withdraw money from any ATM/cash machine (please make sure you let your bank know in order to avoid your card being blocked). Clothing Lebanon is a country of mixed religions, so you will find many areas where they have a mixture of people who are dressed conservatively and those who dress exactly as Westerners. In Lebanon you may dress as you please, there is no male or female dress code. However, some neighborhoods are more conservative than others, so be aware of the kind of area you are going to and dress accordingly. As a general rule, in conservative areas, it is best to cover your legs and shoulders (men and women). In other parts, such as the Christian areas, there is no dress code, you are free to wear whatever you want. However, women walking around in a bikini top, shorts and flip-flops or men in tank tops will draw a lot of unwanted attention from people who are not used to seeing people dressed this way in the street. Flip-flops are fine for the beach or inside the house but not for walking around. We suggest that you bring walking shoes that are easy to remove, especially when we go around for visits, as you will have to take them off in some houses. Some roads are not paved and tend to get dirty or muddy so try to bring shoes that are waterproof. There will be days when you will be serving the community so please bring a set of clothing that is old and you don’t mind them getting dirty. Lebanese people are very stylish and they like to dress up so if we are going out to a church service, gathering, meet people, etc then you are expected to dress properly. Please bring some nice outfit (shirts/polo shirts/nice t-shirts and trousers/nice jeans for men, long dress/skirts/tailored trousers for women). For Women: When outside, there are certain areas where you will have to cover your shoulders and legs. Try to bring loose-fitting clothing. You should avoid anything that is too short or too tight, have plunging necklines, bare arms and shoulders, as well as shorts which reveal your legs. Make sure that your clothes don’t show your belly when you move. For swimming, there are places such as resorts or private beaches where swimsuits are accepted but remember to be decent. However, when swimming at public beaches, you will have to wear a t-shirt and shorts to your knees and make sure your clothes are not see-through when wet. If wearing fitted jeans/trousers, you will need to wear a long top to cover your bum. For Men: Male clothing is pretty much the same as in the West. It is ok to wear tank tops, shorts, and flip-flops when you are inside the house but when going out, as a man you are expected to wear long trousers/jeans, t-shirts/shirts and shoes/trainers. General Guidelines: Give yourself boundaries: remember that you are a guest in this country so the stories you hear and scenes you see aren’t yours to share with the rest of the world by default. Respect the dignity and privacy of the people you encounter. Respect your hosts: please always ask us about what can be posted if you are not sure. Avoid “exhibition mode”: if not careful, your use of photography and social media can be exploitive. You can unintentionally act like a tourist, capturing and consuming the materially poor’s images and stories as if they were a show to be observed. This dishonors the image of God in suffering people and can contribute to feelings of shame and powerlessness that they might already feel. Honour certain spaces: Don’t post or photograph during worship services or when in people’s homes. Put all devices away during those times, ensuring that you don’t distract yourself or others from entering into worship and fellowship together. Further, pulling out a phone or camera in a church might be seen as rude or sacrilegious. Similarly, when in people’s homes, focus all your attention on engaging with them. Ask permission before posting pictures of or with people, and be extremely cautious of posting pictures of or with children. Ask yourself how you would feel if your roles were reversed: How would you feel if people drove down the street photographing your daughter or niece without your permission? What if they then posted the images on Instagram? How would you feel if your son or nephew randomly appeared on a church’s Facebook cover image? Avoid the Saviour Syndrome: Does what you are posting imply that you are saving people who are poor? Does it paint you as the hero and them as the helpless victim? Does it establish a provider-receiver dynamic where you have the answer to their poverty? Be especially careful of phrases such as “the least of these” or “bringing light and hope” in your posts. Use any social media updates to highlight the dignity of the community and what God is already doing over the long haul, rather than elevating your own role and impact. Indoors/Outdoors Culture: There is an “indoor” and “outdoor” culture in Lebanon. The way you behave and dress inside can be very different from the way you do outside in society. Lots of Lebanese people, especially women, wear very typical – and at times, revealing – Western clothing. The fact that they do does not mean you can do the same. Remember that for them you are an outsider so their rules do not apply to you. Therefore, please be mindful in the way you choose your clothing outfit for the day and always ask a member of staff for help if you are not sure. If you have any tattoos please try to hide them as much as you can when you are outside. The same applies to piercings or nose-rings (please remove them before you leave the house). Earrings are fine in women but not in men. Avoid wearing any clothing with symbols that may cause offense e.g. religious signs. Rmeileh, the place where the flat is, is a Christian town but it is surrounded by Muslim villages that are more conservative. So if you go to the shops or walk around, dressing more traditionally would be appropriate. General Behaviour: Wherever you go: TAKE YOUR PASSPORT with you. There are some checkpoints around the cities and major communities so it’s very likely that they will check it. It’s recommended you put it in a plastic sleeve or cover and you keep a photocopy. Do not leave the house by yourself, always go in two’s or three’s (especially women). Also, speak in a normal voice; please don’t shout or laugh loudly (especially women) and always respect quiet times in the apartment and building.
Health Care Lebanese health care system is not free. Therefore, we recommend that you get travel/health insurance for the duration of your trip or some extra money for any eventuality. If you are taking any medications, please bring a supply for the duration of your stay. Drinking-Water Water in Lebanon tends to be hard so drinking water is usually bottled water. Please use the dispenser provided in the houses and never drink from any tap. If you are thirsty then please get water from a shop if you are outside. Please bring your water bottle if you’ve got one. Accommodation You will be staying at an apartment in Rmeileh, in the Sidon area, where the FFRL is based. The apartment is modest but equipped with essentials (fridge, cooker, beds, basic furniture etc). It has several rooms where you will be sharing with other people. Accommodation will be simple so please come prepared for close fellowship ☺ Bedsheets and pillows (and blankets in winter) will be provided but it would be great if you could bring your own sleeping bag. You will also need a towel and any other items that you consider necessary or important. Please also bring your toiletries (soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc). Specific vaccinations are not required for Lebanon but we suggest that you check your immunization records to see if you need a booster dose.
Ramy , Director of Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon