Art of Hope aims to engage children in activities during the time when they’re facing the harsh reality of staying behind with no opportunity of a proper education.
Through our arts & crafts workshops, we will not only bring back a sense of normalcy, dignity, and belonging for these children, but will also address their emotional, psychological, and PTSD vulnerabilities through expert therapists and social workers.
In addition, by engaging mothers and adult girls in vocational training programs the organization strives to bring back a sense of self-worth, dignity, and normalcy that in the long-term will help them to have a smoother journey to overcome the tumultuous realities of living life as survivors of war—whether in a host country or back home in Syria.
Based on the desperate need for help in Lebanon, Art of Hope’s first "class" will be launched in the Lebanon/Syria border region with the aim of growing its programing into other parts of Lebanon, the Middle East, and ultimately Europe, that are all struggling from the large influx of refugees.
Today, as the Syrian crisis grows in its sixth year, Lebanon maintains the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world—making it an incredibly vulnerable host country that’s receiving the largest influx of Syrian refugees that's only projected to grow.
To date, with a population of about 4.5 million, Lebanon is host to over 1.3 million Syrian refugees in addition to about 500 Palestinian refugees. These are official UNHCR numbers, but including those unregistered and unaccounted for, local NGOs say that the number of Syrian refugees reaches an estimated 2 million as of 2016.
Art of Hope is grateful to have local Lebanese partners on the ground, including the “Rescue Me” foundation, led by expert social worker sisters: Ms. Nancy and Ms. Maya Yamout (MSW) and “Lebanese Youth Network” headed by Mr. Yasser Zgheib.
Each Lebanese NGO, will support Art of Hope’s mission based on their very unique and specific areas of expertise. Rescue Me serves as Art of Hope's programing & therapy coordinator while the Lebanese Youth Network serves as our field coordinator. Both NGOs mutually play an important role in sustaining and supporting Art of Hope’s presence on the ground and will work hand in hand toward the same mission that’s determined, managed, and monitored by Art of Hope.
Click to Find out More About Our Local Partners on The Ground in Lebanon:
LYN (Lebanese Youth Network)
With the massive lack of education opportunities as well as the strong prevalence of psychological, emotional, and mental health challenges, creative activities through arts and crafts can not only serve as a positive alternative for lack of educational opportunities, but also a strong tool to help these vulnerable refugees cope with their mental, emotional, and psychological challenges.
“The biggest advantage is that art can express things that are not expressible verbally,” Dr. Sarah Deaver, the President of the American Art Therapy Association, explains. “That’s a huge advantage for people who don’t have the language to talk about what’s inside of them.”
“Art therapy can be a helpful intervention for stabilizing overwhelming emotional states and crisis situations because of the safe containment it provides.” Gretchen Miller, Art Therapy Expert explains.
Each class and program has its own specific theme and has the support of both art teachers as well as a therapist/social workers. Through a strong collaboration between the two professionals, children will simultaneously receive art training as well as counseling and therapy.
Our therapists will determine the child's current psychological and emotional condition in the beginning of each cohort and evaluate his or her progress through the span of 6 months. (The duration of each unique program) Each group and cohort has a special inaugural ceremony as well as a "graduation" ceremony from that workshop. It is our goal to provide a holistic training for these children so after the end of each program they can see progress in their mental health status as well as their skills and learning capacity.
The same model will be used for women; except with the added mission to address and celebrate their specific vulnerabilities, individual skills, and leadership attitudes as mothers. We strive to revive their strength and provide them the tools that they can use to grow as role models at home, among other women in their camps, and their refugee communities.
Imagine if 170 million refugees decided to walk into the U.S., that’s what happened to Lebanon.”
Lebanon’s Education Minister, Elias Bou Saab
Art Of Hope Annual Blanket Drive
Each year, at Art of Hope, we aim to support some of the most vulnerable families cope with the brutal cold winters in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. These are families living in makeshift camps that are not supported but the UN or any other international NGO. With the help of our local partners on the ground we make it our mission to deliver blankets and heating vouchers to families who otherwise will have no hope to keep warm during the harsh Winter seasons.