Recycling Lebanon’s Future
Young women are turning recycled materials into useful crafts
The world campaign to save the planet is never-ending. Every community has a role to play. In Lebanon, local projects can and do make a difference.
Anera has partnered with Tafaol Center to turn recycling into a productive endeavor. Students participating in the program use recycled wool, plastic containers and other materials to make useful items. At the same time, they are learning a craft they can potentially build into something more profitable for themselves and their families. How apt is the name of the center where they learn new skills? Tafaol, in Arabic, means optimism!
The course is part of Anera’s Youth Empowerment, Education and Employability program that is supported by UNICEF, with funding from Germany through the German Development Bank KfW and the government of Norway. The twenty students participating in the course have produced a variety of items from embroidered pillowcases and scarves to knitted dolls and toys.
Razan Abu Arab got her high school diploma last year but couldn’t afford to go on to university. The 18-year-old is creating vases and centerpieces out of discarded cups and other containers. She says she chose to volunteer in charitable societies and participate in training courses to gain experiences that would allow her to find a profession.
“In this way I’ll benefit myself and also transfer my experiences to my community. I want to help my community and not go unnoticed in this life.”
"I want to help my community and not go unnoticed in this life.”
Twenty-year-old Sally Haidar couldn’t afford to go to university either.
She was intrigued by Anera’s program as a way to do something positive for her community.
“I was always fascinated by handicrafts but I was never encouraged to try. I guess I am afraid to try because I don’t want to fail.”
But Sally was encouraged to join this course because it combines humanitarian work and handicrafts.
”My message to our generation is simple: Don’t be afraid of trying, even if you fail at first. To keep trying, that’s the secret of success!"
Nisreen Kahil is a 21-year-old Lebanese woman. She graduated from a technical institute with a degree in interior design. The high tuition fees have deterred her from continuing her studies for now. Instead, she says,
“I decided to enroll in several training courses that will increase my experience in interior design, and this course is one of them!
“My goal in the future is to go back to school and continue my university studies, and to benefit from the courses I participated in to strengthen my abilities in this field.
"I hope to establish my own business in the future. This course will help me think in a way that preserves the environment, and to use it in my field of work. It’s possible, through my experience in interior design, to combine it with what we learned in this course to make decorative items made from recycled materials.”
Aya Haseed is a 21-year-old Palestinian. She says,
“I graduated from a vocational school as an accountant. I’ve tried hard to find a job in this field, but I haven’t succeeded. So I decided to join training courses that would help me build experiences that would get me into the labor market.
“I joined this course because it combines the technical and the practical, and it may help me generate income in the future.
“My message to the young generation is to break all barriers of fear and despair and to take advantage of all opportunities to extricate themselves from the unfortunate reality we live in.”