- Title: Lebanese set up charitable 'walls of kindness'
- Date: 27th July 2017
- Summary: TRIPOLI, LEBANON (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF 'CHARITY WALL' VARIOUS OF MAN SETTING UP WOODEN HANGERS ON WALL SIGN ON WALL READING (Arabic): 'SHARE THE SMILE' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NASHITOUN VOLUNTEER, FATIMA SHIBLI, SAYING: "We got this idea of 'Share the smile' after we saw it on Facebook in Beirut. We wanted to implement it in Tripoli, where there is the biggest number of poor people. You put what you don't need and take what you do (need) in a very easy way that doesn't embarrass anyone." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE HANGING UP CLOTHES MORE OF PEOPLE AND LOCAL RESIDENT JAWAHER KASSEM LEAVING CLOTHES ON WALL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LOCAL RESIDENT JAWAHER KASSEM, SAYING: "I was passing through Azmi street and saw the wall. I immediately thought about how every year, summer or winter, I or other people have a surplus of clothes we don't need and don't know where to put them. We used to throw them in the garbage or don't know how to find poor people in need. When we found out about this idea, we really welcomed it. My friends and I came and hung some clothes, we found a lot of needy people who would take them as we were putting them out." MAN ATTACHING BASKET ON WALL KASSEM ADJUSTING CLOTHES ON WALL MORE OF CLOTHES ON THE WALL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) VICE PRESIDENT OF NASHITOUN, AISHA ARHANI, SAYING: "We faced a lot of resistance from Azmi traders. They refused the wall and every time we fixed it, we would come and find some hangers removed. They refused the concept a lot. They felt Azmi (street) is a bourgeois street where people don't like such things. But we continued and have set up a similar wall in Abou Samra neighbourhood too and God willing we will continue in all the neighbourhoods, focusing more on popular areas." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING DOWN AZMI STREET BEIRUT, LEBANON (JULY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WOMAN HANGING CLOTHES ON A 'WALL OF KINDNESS' SIGN ON WALL READING (Arabic) 'WALL OF KINDNESS, LET US GIVE AND TAKE' VARIOUS OF ITEMS HANGING ON WALL VARIOUS OF SHOES ON SHELVES / PEOPLE WALKING PAST (SOUDNBITE) (Arabic) ANONYMOUS LEBANESE ACTIVIST AND INITIATIVE FOUNDER, SAYING: "We decided to stay anonymous because we believe and we always say kindness has no name. We don't want anything out of this initiative, we did this for the area and we want the people from each initiative area to benefit from it." VARIOUS OF CLOTHES HANGING ON WALL / CAR DRIVING PAST MAN WALKING PAST WALL
- Embargoed: 10th August 2017 11:04
- Keywords: Lebanese charity walls of kindness clothes donations Beirut charitable initiative share the smile walls
- Location: BEIRUT AND TRIPOLI, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT AND TRIPOLI, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0016RHQ8UT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A new initiative to allow local residents to help out struggling neighbours without any stigma is underway in Lebanon through the concept of a 'charity wall'.
A group of Lebanese activists have set up 'walls of kindness' on public streets where people can donate unwanted clothing normally thrown out in today's fast paced consumer culture.
The concept has been taken on by Lebanese charity 'Nashitoun' (Arabic for Activists) who expanded on the idea by setting up other 'share the smile' walls, using social media to spread their message.
The initiative has proved so popular that it has quickly spread across various Lebanese cities.
Tripoli resident, Jawaher Kassem said when she came to donate her clothes she immediately found "needy people who would take them as we putting them out."
Lebanon is hosting at least 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the more than six-year conflict there and who now make up about a quarter of the country's population.
According to UNHCR, around 70% of Lebanon's Syrian refugee population live beneath the poverty line.
By raising awareness through social media, the 'Share the smile' wall in Tripoli was built by volunteers and art students who offered to paint it.
However, not everyone has been happy about the concept. Some locals have been concerned about the effect on relatively well-to-do area such as Azmi in Tripoli.
"We faced a lot of resistance from Azmi traders. They refused the wall and every time we fixed it, we would come and find some hangers removed. They refused the concept a lot. They felt Azmi (street) is a bourgeois street where people don't like such things," said Aisha Arhani, Vice President of Nashitoun.
The negativity has also been felt in Beirut, where one 'wall of kindness' had to be removed after several acts of vandalism.
Nashitoun and its supporters say they are hopeful that the hostility will fade once the positive affects are realised.
With more 'kindness' walls slowly popping up across cities, Nashitoun hopes locals will continue to feel a part of the solution to Lebanon's poverty challenges.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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