BEIRUT: The Wall of Kindness was officially launched on April 6 in Wagon Park, Byblos. It kicked off with 17-year-old Lea Harb’s speech, which highlighted the motive behind the event and its purpose.
“We are trying to leave an impact in our country and we are trying to stand against the economic situation that is killing people’s dreams,” Harb said, adding that the event shows people in need that compassion still exists.
Following the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of “No poverty," and inspired by the wall of kindness initiative, which started in Sweden, Association des Guides du Liban - Noyau Frères Maristes Jbail, in cooperation with Byblos municipality, embarked on a journey to find “peace in helping, hope in giving and love in loving.”
The team of 28 Girl Guides worked on contributing to one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015, to be achieved by the end of 2030.
The plan was to implement charity work under the title "Wall of Kindness," which comprises of attaching cloth hangers outside houses to encourage people to donate miscellaneous useful things.
On that wall, which is dedicated to people who need clothes to stay warm, and to others who wish to donate, the phrases "Leave if you do not need" and "take if you need” are written as simple instructions that sum up the purpose of the movement.
The initiative started with an anonymous Iranian and the practice quickly spread throughout that country. It was then seen in the Netherlands, Sweden, Helsingborg, China, Jordan, Rome, and Beirut.
In the course of the three-months duration of the project, many clothing items were collected, which were then deposited in closed boxes on the wall with shelves that offered books as well.
“At first it seemed like an impossible goal for us but, as a team, we broke it down, brainstormed, came up with ideas and designed steps for the journey,” said Reine Khoury, chief of the team.
She added: “Ending poverty isn’t an act of charity but rather an act of justice."
To begin with, the girls decided to design boxes for the wall, which a carpenter had donated, instead of hanging the clothes randomly. Then they distributed flyers to introduce people to the initiative and encourage them to contribute.
Hanadi Tarabay, Assistant Chief, told Annahar: “We felt like everywhere we went, doors opened for us; people were very excited and even though they thought their contribution was minor, they look at the filled boxes now and know that their drop helped in filling the ocean.”
Furthermore, Jean Khoury, one of the donors, noted that parents play a huge role in planting the spirit of kindness in their children. He added that it is essential for them to teach their kids at an early age “the immeasurable happiness of giving."
During the event, the hopeful team uncovered the wall before a number of attendees who were amazed by the scene.
“The colorful wall itself gives a pleasurable vibe. It’s not something unusual to see such initiatives in Byblos, neither is it an unusual act for the scouts. What is very sincere about this act is that the giver and the taker are connected without knowing each other,” said Bernadette Tarabay.
The team’s journey doesn’t end here; they aim to expand the wall and include a larger contribution space.
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