The Lebanon Project

18 02 2009

I want to dedicate a blog post to an admirable venture initiated by a few New York University students that pertains to the topic of this blog, in recognition of this venture’s importance.

The Lebanon Project is a venture that took 10 NYU students to Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon in January 2008, a little over a year ago. It is the brainchild of a recent NYU-graduate called Josh Martin. I first heard of this project a month after the students returned to New York City. My friend, Frank Fredericks, was a participant.

I had been working on a profile about Fredericks and his work at that time (which will also receive another post – look for “World Faith”). Josh, a Middle-Eastern Economic and Political Development major, was generous enough to answer a few of my questions about the project over email.

He had first thought of the project when he volunteered to rebuild Israeli homes that were damaged by Hezbollah rocket fire during the Lebanon War of 2006. He wondered about the damage that had been done to the other side of the borders, particularly to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. With another friend, Alex Karasavva, he began an effort that he hoped would parallel the one he’d seen in Israel. With a crew of 9 other students, The Lebanon Project gathered a total of $12,000 over the course of four months, from individual donations, institutional grants and grassroots fundraising. There were many sponsors and organization support.

In the Beqa’a Valley, the students visited refugee schools, mingled with Palestinian children, planted trees and painted wall murals. The group itself was diverse, with Christians, Jews and Muslims on the team. Their week-long initiative was featured in the Lebanese newspaper, Al-Akhbar.

Frank Fredericks wrote about his experience in this trip in a blog. Check it out: Frank’s Lebanon Project Experience.

 

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