Here you go! A very short summary of my fluffy art mission... For those who don't know: It is an art mission, as Miss Stanhope does lots of art activities with Syrian refugee kids. It is a fluffy mission, because I also bring Syrian refugee kids fluffy friends. Here you see some. On the name tags, you get to see the names the donors have given their donated fluffy friends.
As most of you know, Miss Stanhope and me live in Berlin, Germany. That was our starting point. We did fly to the capital of Lebanon: Beirut. From there we drove to Akkar, in the North of Lebanon. Maybe you want to have a look at the map. It may look very close to the Syrian boarder, but it is not. Cleary you can see though, that Lebanon, compared to Syria, is a tiny country. There are many Syrian refugee camps in Akkar, which differ in size and structure. Due to the altitude it can get really cold in the winter too. It often rains too, which makes life in a refugee camp even harder.
For the first few days of my trip I stayed with a local NGO called MALAAK. If you ever want to help to improve the lives of of Syrian refugee children, please consider donating to this NGO. NGO means non-governmental Organisation. Miss Stanhope strongly believes that supporting the small and well functioning local NGOs is much better than supporting huge NGOs. In the case of MALAAK (and also MISHWAR) I would place my paws into the fire for them (maybe only the Germans among you will understand what I mean). In any case, MALAAK grants education to about 340 Syrian refugee children daily. They have many recreational activities and MALAAK provides the children with a warm nutritious meal too. Not all Syrian children in Lebanon have good access to education and food.
For Miss Stanhope MALAAK is a great place to be, as she actually has something like a room (!) where she can do art activities with the children. Miss Stanhope´s focus is on art activities, as she wants to brighten up the lives of the children. Of course I also join Miss Stanhope´s art classes as a fluffy assistant.
My personal favourite and fluffy day is the fluffy friends distribution day. I call it "OH FLUFFY DAY", where I and Miss Stanhope hand out the donated fluffy friends to the Syrian refugee children. We believe in furry tails and that all children should have at least one fluffy friend to hold on to. LIFE IS BETTER WITH A FLUFFY FRIEND! Here are a few photos of Syrian refugee children with their new fluffy friends. There are many more... For several reasons Miss Stanhope has decided to make only a few photos available for all. For the donors, who want to see the children with their donated fluffy friend, please send me a message Miss Stanhope and you get the password to the extra page.
My second part of my fluffy mission was with MISHWAR NGO, a local NGO that has no independent own space like MALAAK but works right in the camps. As you can see from below, MISHWAR does a great child brightening up the refugee camps with colour. MISHEAR supports the refugee communities by launching creative projects led by the communities themselves. MISHWAR works with hundreds of youth through the north of Lebanon in three tent settlements. When I was there, they also offered English classes, organdie the outdoor cognomen nights, made a bonfire and did the regular soccer games. It is so important that these kids have some cheerful and carefree activities. Life in the camps is very harsh!
Miss Stanhope did some art activities with the Syrian kids there too. With my help we also did some HUGE prints to decorate the tents. Kids love stamping and they were really into it. Look how happy and proud they are.
While we were in Lebanon the REVOLUTION happened. That meant that thousands of Lebanese people all over the country went to the streets and demonstrated against the corrupt governmental system and for unity. Lebanon faced a long civil war in the past, and it was so heartwarming to see that Muslim and Christian and Druze where on the stressing demonstrating together for unity. For me and Miss Stanhope it all became a bit complicated as there were read blocks all over the country. So it took us 1 1/2 days in stead of 5 hours to get down to Beirut. I must say that fluffy road trip through the mountains avoiding read blocks in a car with a kitty and a dog and me and four humans was quite experience. A fluffy adventure.
As we decided to take the route through the south of Lebanon, we visited Baalbek. Miss Stanhope had seen these ruins, but for me it was surprise. We will do a bigger feature about this. For now: Baalbeck is worth a visit.
Once we arrived in Beirut we did to even had a full day there. We shortly joined the demonstrations and made some photos. Luckily the road to the airport had reopened and we managed to get our flight. There are more photos on my Instagram feed (stories). This is just a short summary...
I hope you enjoyed my fluffy mission report.