Following up after Project SHINE!
With Project SHINE having been wrapped up, we have been working to organize and tie up loose ends of the program. Here are some updates from our Beautification and Dental Hygiene Campaigns!
First, at the request of our partner organization, Beit Atfal Al-Samood, the LEAP Program’s Project SHINE 2014 team in Burj el-Shemali camp joined the BAS Scouts group in order to implement a community beautification project as this summer’s community project. The beautification project aimed to brighten up the camp’s built environment through painting different sections of the camp.
As many walls in the camp are unpainted and are plastered with various political posters spanning back multiple decades, the Scouts believe that adding color to the camp is both aesthetically pleasing, and also fosters a greater sense of community unity and pride. Before painting could take place, walls needed to first be cleaned, and after 3 days of cleaning, the walls were prepped for paint. The colors selected were as vibrant as the community, full of character, energy and warmth.
The project allowed LEAP volunteers the opportunity to better understand the community outside the setting of the Beit Atfal center, which they were more accustomed to. Likewise, individuals from the wider community were able to engage with LEAP volunteers in a role beyond that of a foreign English teacher.
During the program, almost all the walls in the selected area were painted and the Scouts will finish the unpainted sections. Their long-term aim is to expand the painting initiative throughout the entire camp.
Additionally, this summer during SHINE we have also been implementing the second year of our dental hygiene project in Rashidieh Camp. Taking a community based approach, the dental hygiene project was organized and structured around the needs of the community that were brought to the attention of LEAP. The purpose of the dental hygiene project has been not only to raise awareness within the community in terms of dental hygiene, but also to bring much needed dental supplies to the camps as well.
We were fortunate enough to have many volunteers bring donated supplies from themselves and outside sources this year, and these supplies were divided up between Burj al-Shamali and Rashidieh in order to make small dental health kits to distribute.
Furthermore, throughout the summer, small actions were initiated to involve the children, community, and volunteers alike. Through Beit Atfal Assumoud and our volunteers, we embarked on a project called Show Me Your Smile, which focused on the children. Through the kids’ recreational activities, i.e., art, theater, creative writing, and photography, the children all took on the task of engaging with the idea of dental healthy, teeth, smiles, and overall happiness and well-being! The point of engaging the children through the recreational activities was to attempt to involve them in a casual way; to try and have them meet with the idea of dental hygiene while still enjoying themselves, and thereby, associating the initiate with positive energy.
Also, during SHINE and the program, the local dentist Dr. Murad also gave two info sessions to both the students, and parents of the students, in order to discuss certain aspects of dental hygiene, why it is important, and how one may improve their dental hygiene.
Finally, through Beit Atfal Assumoud and our SHINE volunteers, we put together a dental hygiene carnival at Rashiedieh. This included an art, games, and an informative dental hygiene play put on by our very own volunteers! The kids absolutely loved it, and they had a blast exploring, learning, and engaging with new ideas.
Overall, the dental hygiene project was a great extension of what was begun last summer, and the community, students, and volunteers all enjoyed participating.
As with most projects, time and money prove to be the greatest obstacle to the future continuation of the Alley Beautification and Dental Hygiene projects. While there is no lack of energized, selfless and motivated individuals, both projects do require a substantial level of funding which will be critical to its continuation. With that being said, continuation is absolutely feasible; we are relying on YOUR generosity and support!
Thank you for your time and I hope this update has found you well! Thank you for supporting LEAP and project SHINE, and we all hope you have had a wonderful summer, and amazing coming year!
With love & appreciation,
The LEAP Family
Community & SHINE volunteers paint!
Rashidieh kids pose w/ dental supplies!
Dr. Murad gives short lecture to kids