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‘I have to do my part to make this a better world’

 

Testimony of a volunteer of the Fratelli Project

Cmi

11/06/2018: Lebanon

Through the secretariat of the Collaboration for mission, international (Cmi), the Fratelli Project receives volunteers for short periods or a year in Rmeileh, Lebanon.

The project – which educates over 600 Syrian refugee children – will receive 14 volunteers from Spain, the Philippines, Ireland, Brazil and Italy during the summer.

In addition, it currently has three one-year volunteers: Bruno Socher, from Brazil, who started in January, Sara Amarillas, a lay Lasallian from Mexico, who started on July 1, and Laura Gonzalvo Calle, from Spain, who arrived in October.

Below is the testimony of what Laura has experienced in the last seven months.

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I have been living in Rmeileh since October, in a community with two Marist brothers, two de La Salle brothers, and two other volunteers. Together with a staff of 20 educators, we carry out the Fratelli Project. A project by and for the most vulnerable children living in Lebanon. Most of them are Syrian refugees. The project looks after around 600 children and young people each week.

The activity starts at 8:30 in the morning, when classes begin and run through until 5:30 pm – which is when the last group that comes for academic support leaves. I am in the mornings with Preschool giving support to educators. In addition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I coordinate the sewing workshop that is offered to families.

On Saturday mornings we work with the children of the so-called shelters, or refugee camps. (Since Lebanon does not have a large territory, many refugees have settled in old, abandoned or half-built buildings). We do leisure activities with them, which include dynamics based on values, and we encourage spaces for them to talk and learn to relate to each other in a positive way since all children who come to the Fratelli Project live in a very vulnerable situation and have experienced very difficult situations because of the war.

This experience cannot be more positive. Every day is a new challenge and a new opportunity to give the best of myself. I am growing both personally and professionally. I study law and, without a doubt, this experience will help me professionally.

I think it is necessary that everyone, to the best of our ability, act and do everything possible to change that which we do not agree with. Personally, I think it is necessary and just to taking into consideration those people who simply seek a better life and to give their children a better future. As Pope Francis said in his letter for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we must welcome, protect, promote and integrate, and that is what the Fratelli Project does here in Lebanon.

When I came across this project, nearly three years ago, it did not leave me indifferent and as time passed by it was clearer to me that I could not remain indifferent to this injustice that I saw every day from home. I must act in some way, I have to contribute with my share to make this a better world, so I decided to come for a year here and live every day with people who are trying to find a decent life. There are people who come to Lebanon, others who travel to Greece, others who publicise various initiatives, others who help economically... there are thousands of ways, perhaps as many as there are people, and none is better than another since all are necessary. I think the important thing is to do something, however small, to improve and leave the world and society better than what it is like now.

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