After the challenges of working near Tripoli, children at the Amel Community Center for Refugees in the Hareit Hreik neighborhood of Beirut were a breath of fresh air. Myra Saad conducted an art interview session with a group of Iraqi refugees, many of whom had been born in Lebanon. In stark contrast to boys and girls that I've encountered in the past, most of these children have been well cared for their entire lives and sheltered from violence. It was reflected in both their drawings and behavior.Read More
Over the last several years, Art Therapist Myra Saad has worked with boys at the Nader Association for Deliquent Enfant Rehabilitation in northern Lebanon. The center gives at-risk and marginalized boys a chance at normalcy, often their last chance. Many come from the streets and highly abusive environments. Some have witnessed and even participated in the ongoing fighting between Sunni and Alawite Muslim residents of the nearby city of Tripoli. Nader equally welcomes boys from both sides of the conflict, encouraging them to break centuries-old patterns of hatred.Read More
On November 19th I traveled with art therapist Myra Saad and Kayany Foundation representative Firas Suqi to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Situated there on land rented from local farmers are a series of tent encampments housing recent Syrian refugees. Although a relatively new foundation, Kayany is only days away from opening its third school in the region. It's a remarkable accomplishment, providing direct benefit to children, many of whom haven't been inside a classroom for up to three years.Read More
The last week has been so busy that I haven't had the time or energy to blog. The eight days of escalated conflict put me far behind schedule, and I was struggling to get everything done in time for my planned departure this past Sunday.
On Tuesday, I once again teamed up with the amazing Dr. Benjamin Epstein and visited the AMIT Torani Mada'i School in Sderot. The school's director Dina Khoury was kind enough to grant us access to a group of 3rd and 4th grade boys and girls.Read More
Last week, on the first morning of the ceasefire, I traveled to the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Located within sight of the Gaza Strip, it has been in the cross-hairs of Palestinian militants who have fired thousands of Qassam rockets and mortars at the town since the Second Intifada.Read More