I can honestly say that out of all of my travels, few countries in the world rival Lebanon in terms of geographic diversity and natural beauty. Yet, for some reason or another, be it war or otherwise, people in Lebanon have been living unsustainably for as long as they’ve known themselves..the effects of which are now being felt all over the country today.
Now, I’m not going to reel off all of the problems that need urgent attention, as I’m sure you are all well aware. But I will say that I don’t think we are doing enough to change the course of things. And if something isn’t done soon to reverse the damage that’s already been done,..the effects might just be permanent (if they aren’t already)..leaving behind an unrecognizable and uninhabitable Lebanon for generations after us.
And while I sit here, and think about ways to contribute to this beautiful country so full of potential that I’ve now made my home, I would like to introduce you to The Happiness Heroes: a group of socially responsible and environmentally aware students who are dedicated to improving Lebanese society and making Lebanon a better place to live, work, and play. Perhaps we can find motivation and inspiration in their commitment to Lebanon.
The Happiness Heroes
To promote the potential of youth for the renewal of society, Picon-Lebanon has joined forces with arcenciel (a local NGO) in developing a program for children called “The Happiness Heroes.” The purpose being to make Lebanese children “Ambassadors of Happiness” in their local communities by encouraging them to participate in social and environmental missions for the betterment of their community and Lebanese society at large.
For the next 6 months, The Happiness Heroes will be promoting sustainable development, social responsibility, and community involvement through a variety of activities. 30 schools across Lebanon are participating in this project by creating groups of 30 children (from each school) between the ages of 7 and 12, who volunteer their time after class. The children who elect to participate, must plan, prepare, and carry out one project per month for the next 6 months that address the following themes:
- Maintaining Lebanon’s ecosystem, so that Lebanon remains beautiful and green
- Supporting disadvantaged families, so that they can live better, happier lives
- Preserving Lebanon’s resources, so that future generations will have the most important things they need to survive like food, water, clean air, and a place to live
- Aiding the disabled, so that they feel part of the community
- Improving schooling for students, so that the less fortunate get proper access to education
- and, lifting the elderly, so that they don’t feel lonely and helpless
*Each Hero (and there are 6: The Recycler, The Shining Heart, The Eco Hero, The Extraordinary Hero, The Restorer, The Great Grand Hero ) correspond to one of the above themes.
A blog was created, www.piconlb.com to follow the Happiness Heroes on their missions as they “spread happiness throughout Lebanon.” The blog, which illustrates each type of Hero, is updated almost daily with photos and descriptions of The Happiness Heroes and their missions.
Here are some photos of The Happiness Heroes that I got from their blog.
The “tips and advice” section of the blog (each Hero has it’s own tips and advice section) is full of useful ideas that everyone can use.
My favorite tip being how to make photo frames out of used glass jars..I mean, isn’t this just great?
At the end of the 6th month campaign, one school will be rewarded for each individual mission, and one school will be named the grand prize winner, based on their performance during all 6 missions. To close out the program, an event will be organized by arcenciel and Picon in order to reward these budding citizens for their involvement and commitment to Lebanon.
If this campaign turns out to be a success (which I hope it will!), another will be launched in 2012..but this time, with even more schools involved. The longterm objective being to transform the project into an educational program designed to teach children the basic concepts of sustainable development in 2013.
Support the Happiness Heroes as they set a positive example for the current and future generations of Lebanon, by visiting their blog!