New begining, new Hope
Community Centres are like children. They are each special in their own way. And it’s important not have favourites.
The last two weeks Reem Haswani and myself have been touring Basmeh and Zeitooneh’s centres. We have been running workshops reviewing our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Reem facilitates these discussions with grace and humour. I’ve been delighted by the ideas she has recorded on the flip charts. How to make our success stories more visible to our donors? What can we do to show more appreciation to our wonderful employees? Can we use our centres at the weekend to serve more people? We will write them all up and deliver on as many ideas as we can.
But I have an awful truth to impart. I do have a favourite. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself. Is it Tripoli? They have the best stories. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the teenagers from the youth centre. When the centre first opened they threw stones at the windows. One year later, the same people became our helpers as we moved from one building to another. Is it Bar Elias? I loved their team-spirit. They support each other. They even cook for each other one day every week. What about Nabaa? This is the most welcoming of our centres. It’s freshly painted and, on the opening day, hung with decorations. No wonder, a queue of families lined up outside the door. No, I have to admit my favourite is Shatila. This was the first centre I visited nearly five years ago. I fell in love with Basmeh and Zeitooneh having witnessed the arts programme, the woman’s workshop and, above all, the school. After our two-week tour, I am full of admiration for all our centres. But I can’t help keeping a special place in my heart for the first one I ever saw.