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Summer camp for Syrian refugee kids

€3,338 of €3,000 goal

Raised by 56 people in 7 months
Music unites us: children summer camp at the Syrian border

This summer young people from across the sectarian and national divide will be singing from the same song sheet at a summer camp on top of the Lebanese mountains.

In the heat of the summer, the Syrian crisis has lost none of its ferocity. Millions of Syrians are still stranded in neighbouring countries where they face an uncertain future. The return to Syria is blocked for most by the Syrian regime and the host countries are more and more pressing them to leave. Lebanon alone, a small country of 4.5 million inhabitants that has gone through 30 years of civil war and occupation, has welcomed more than 1.5 million Syrians. After 7 years of conflict, hope is vanishing. Nobody seems to care anymore.

 
Who we are
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We are a team of 20 volunteers from Europe, Syria and Lebanon and we refuse to give up hope. We are here on the invitation of Relief & Reconciliation, a small NGO born out of the spirit of Christian-Muslim friendship, open to all, that is combining peacebuilding with humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis. We came and witnessed the biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War 2 and we want to make a difference.

We need your help to support our volunteer work. None of us is paid for our service but we need your financial support for the benefit of the children we serve.
 

Our project

In the end of August, we are organising a summer mountain camp that will bring together Syrian and Lebanese youth of different confessions. Christians and Muslims will visit the high mountains of the other community, often for the first time, and sing. Music unites us despite of all our differences. Music is our common language.

We recognise that many of you will already have contributed to the humanitarian efforts in support of those affected by the war in Syria, but three weeks before the camp begins we are facing a shortfall of funds. Can you help us deliver on our promise to young people impacted by the war to provide some much needed fun through this collective music camp?


What we need
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The NGO has already raised €1500 for a day-camp with 45 Syrian and Lebanese children aged 9-13 who will be accompanied by us, 20 international and local volunteers. Our goal is to raise €3,000 more to expand the camp for three more days. We need this time to make the mixed children choir a success. We will spend every day 3 hours in rehearsals on top of the mountains and 3 other hours in educational cross-country games.

The plans are made. Now we need some more funds to make them happen. The participating families have limited means and we need to cover all the costs of this camp, from arranging the buses to transport the children, renting tents, organising water for drinking and for washing facilities and buying food to provide three meals a day.


This is a breakdown of the project costs:

-          €600 for transportation (buses and drivers). Younger children will need daily transport.

-          €300 for tents and sleeping equipment for the youth staying overnight

-          €1,350 for food and water (3 meals a day and water for 65 participants on 3 more days)

-          €300 for paying a qualified choral master to conduct our children choir

-          €300 for materials (music/sport equipment/arts & crafts)

-          €150 for the print of song sheets and programme flyers


Should we achieve the goal of raising the amount for Summer Camp and if there is any money left over, this would be used to fund R&R’s Back to School Campaign in September that will help to enroll Syrian refugees into public Lebanese schools.


The NGO we support
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R&R (Relief& Reconciliation for Syria) is a small and independent NGO that is running since 2013 a Peace Centre at the Northern border of Lebanon in the Akkar province. R&R has provided regular education to more than 1,100 Syrian refugee children and Lebanese throughout these years. So far, more than 150 international volunteers of the most diverse origins from around the world have lived and worked at the Peace Centre, joining forces with Lebanese and Syrian teachers of all local communities.

Akkar is one of the poorest regions where the percentage of Syrian refugees living under the poverty line is the highest. Nevertheless, this is a very diverse region where various religious communities have been living next to each other for many centuries. It is a region of hospitality: the poor are welcoming the poor.


A big thank you!

Even if you cannot give much, you can help us to spread the word. Please promote our initiative within the circle of your families, colleagues and friends! Please follow us on Facebook and organise a fundraiser for us in your home town! Also if you are interested in joining volunteering for next year’s summer programme, please do contact us for more information.

 

More information about our NGO:

http://www.reliefandreconciliation.org/home/ 

 

We are also on Facebook with more recent posts about what do we at the Peace Centre.

https://www.facebook.com/relief4syria/
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Dear supporters, followers and donors,

As you might have seen from our Facebook and Instagram, the camp was a SUCCESS!

On the first days the children preferred to sit next to their friends from the same community and were to shy to approach the other. As we started our mornings with an interfaith prayer of reading both the Fatihah and Our Father Prayer , we had one small Muslim boy asking loudly in the middle of the prayer:"Why do we need to read this Christian thing?"

Instead of telling him off, we discussed his very valid question during the next assembly and also by asking the kids why do they think we do this and why is it important. We were pleased with the replies and the depth and knowledge these children have.

Even though the camp was short, we could see a definite change in the children's attitudes. During the last days you could see boys playing, running, chasing each other and making selfies with all of the boys despite their national or religious background. Same with the little girls, the games are all the same, the language is the same, what is stopping us from being friends?

The final concert was held in a school hall in Halba and as it was the middle of the day we didn't have the highest attendance of parents. The parents who did come however were beaming with pride. We decided not to let all this hard work go to waste and hold two more concerts, one in Mishmish and one in Besmina. We are also considering to continue this musical twinning on a monthly basis, to bring the children together to practise and sing.

So thank you again for your kindness in believing in us and in the children. It was a very ambitious project, but we are extremely pleased how it turned out and excited for the future prospects. We are so grateful and glad to have so many kind people who not only donated money, but offered their advice, suggestions, ideas and supportive words. We could not have done it without you!

Shukran! :)

P.S. If you are interested in what will come of the twinning project and what else we do, please like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
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Dear supporters and donors!

We are almost there! When we passed the €2000 mark, we took the bold decision to extend the camp and the risk we took has now been awarded. It's the last night before the Big Day and we could not be more excited. Thank you once again for all your support.

Of course it has not all been smooth. When the team planning the activities went to bed last night feeling accomplished and prepared they had no idea what was waiting for them the next day. Last minute fears and anxiety from the different communities. A few local volunteers who could not commit to attending. Local events colliding with our schedule. The fears were settled, new volunteers found and even more when we anticipated or hoped for, the plans were changed and we even accepted ten additional children from a Christian community (a community we originally struggled to find children from).

We can now go to bed feeling ready and prepared. The campaign is only missing €132. Every euro counts so please do share one more last time!

We will be posting regular updates from the camp on Instagram, so please follow to stay up to date: @relief4syria

Shukran! Merci! Thank you! Gracias! Gràcies! Aitäh! Grazie! Danke! Děkuji! From our international team.
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160 shares on Facebook and 87% of the target reached. We can not express how grateful we are for all the support, love, donations and good thoughts send our way!

With the money raised and the enthusiasm, passion and devotion of all the volunteers, we are certain this camp will be a success. We are now only missing €370 euros that we hope to reach in the next two days with your help!

The volunteers have been working hard waking up early and going to bed late. Two days before the Summer Camp, the activities have been set and scheduled. Timetable and flyers are ready. The team has been in the house all day drawing, designing, folding, colouring and cutting the posters, maps and clues for the games and activities. We will leave Lebanon as professional animators/event planners!
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Dear supporters and followers!

Shukran ktiir! We are extremely grateful for all the donations and the support in spreading the word among your friends and family. Raising 85% of our goal so quickly has been a miracle not possible without you.

This means the camp will definitely be going ahead for the extended period. We will gather on the first day in Chambouk, a predominantly Christian area, the next two days will see us camping in Mishmish, high in the Sunni mountains and the final concert will be held in the district capital Halba that has all the religious groups represented.

Only three days left until the camp we are almost ready with the timetables, activities and games. The local and international volunteers have met and we have created twinnings between the two. The choirmaster has introduced us to the song repertoire and we have been up the mountains to double check the facilities and choose stations for cross country game. We even played some of the games today to be familiar with the concepts. Now we are just distributing the roles and responsibilities for the days and preparing the list of materials and supplies we need to buy this weekend.

Please continue to share the campaign and spread the word. We are almost there!

R&R volunteer team

P.S. What do you think of our modified version of the Musical Chairs where there is no losers and the focus is on teamwork and fitting on the chairs all together?
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€3,338 of €3,000 goal

Raised by 56 people in 7 months
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