Southern children at play with UNIFIL peacekeepers
It really felt like a Happy Eid in Tibnin, especially at the town's centre where hundreds of children gathered on 21 August to enjoy a day of fun with UNIFIL's Finnish and Irish peacekeepers.
It really felt like a Happy Eid in Tibnin, especially at the town's centre where hundreds of children gathered on 21 August to enjoy a day of fun with UNIFIL's Finnish and Irish peacekeepers in an event coordinated with the Lebanese Association for Human Promotion and Alphabetization (ALPHA), World Vision, and Tibnin's charity fund.
Laughter, running around, and loads of fun was the centre piece of Tibnin's event, which started with a clown performance that ignited the whole audience. The clowns, who joined the show from the Bekaa valley, presented a lively comic show. The children broke out into laughter countless of times, especially when UNIFIL soldiers participated in the show.
Lt Commander Kari Ahrnberg, the CIMIC officer in the Irish- Finnish battalion explained that this event originated from a joint effort between UNIFIL, the municipality of Tibnin, and local NGOs.
According to Lt. Commander Ahrnberg, UNIFIL's contribution consisted of donating biscuits, soft drinks, and footballs to the children. In addition, UNIFIL's Finnish-Irish contingent presented a special opportunity to the children to explore the armored personnel carriers (APC) and to get a taste of what it feels like to be a peacekeeper. The event allowed the children to get to know and understand peacekeepers and their work a little better.
The children grasped the opportunity, and hopped on the APCs, exploring them inside and outside. Some of them even called for their parents to capture their happy moments on camera. Their enthusiasm was obvious, as they chatted and expressed their awe in actually being in an APC next to UNIFIL peacekeepers, who were guarding their safety at all times.
The Vice president of Human Promotion and Alphabetization (ALPHA), Mrs. Salma Fawaz, noted that organizing activities with UNIFIL contingents is common in Tibnin. She said: "UNIFIL peacekeepers are a part of our lives. They have managed to create a very peaceful and happy environment when interacting with the locals." The event was concluded with a play by the author Yasser Abo Yaghi and put on by World Vision. The play's theme focused on the importance of loving one another in the community.
"Playing with the Spaniards" was the theme of the day for the Ein Arab children last Thursday 23 August. The town's children, ranging between 4 and 12 years in age, gathered around in the public school to enjoy a summer camp day organized by UNIFIL's Spanish peacekeepers and Al Kayan organization in order to enjoy some traditional Spanish games.
"This day is considered an incentive for us to spread more joy and happiness among children", said the Spanish battalion Commander Lt. Colonel Hernanz Moral in his speech to the crowd as read by Major Calvo of the Spanish CIMIC team.
And it was a happy day for the kids who spent hours playing with the Spaniards as if they were all of the same age. Painting, assembling kites, playing football, running around, and dancing all together as if celebrating the peace and calm in the region. The kids didn't mind that the Spaniards don't understand the Arabic language; through the language of fun and play they were able to communicate fluently.
The activities coordinator of the Alkayan organization, Mr. Talaat Bitar, lauded the long history of coordination with UNIFIL that results in similar successful activities for the local community throughout the South.