Time for fun - and to learn to save water - on World Water Day
They played games and picked up a few tips. That's how about 500 Lebanese school children marked World Water Day in southern Lebanon.
The school children aged 8 to 10 from eight schools mainly in the Tyr district of the south, in addition to a few from schools in the Beirut area as well as some school dropouts, spent the day learning about the importance of water and the best ways to use it through Nestle's six-stages water games.
The water awareness festival was organized by UNIFIL Civil Affairs office in collaboration with the Tyr Municipality, Nestle Waters Lebanon and UNIFIL's Italian battalion.
The festival's aim is to draw attention to the importance of fresh water on World Water Day. The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, better known as the Earth Summit. The UN hosts a series of events around the world to mark the occasion on 22 March.
The festival was held on Tuesday 27 March in Tyr's Old City. The students arrived in groups to have enough time to play and listen. The school children were clearly enjoying their time running around between the six game slots,
Nadwa Abou khalil, a teacher from Qulayla School, wished for similar events on every occasion. "The kids are having fun while listening to the volunteers. It is as if they are in class but a fun one."
Hawraa Taleb, an eight-year-old student from Burj Rahhal Public School, thanked UNIFIL for organizing "fun activities", while her schoolmate Sabbah Sheeab was glad that she learned that she mustn't use water excessively. For 10-year-old Ali Taleb, preserving the environment has become his main goal for the near future, whereas Ibrahim Kassem noted that he should advice his parents to use water moderately.
The children also received gift hampers, colouring booklets and pencils.
Italian peacekeepers shared most of the games with the children; even some painted the Italian flag on the children's faces. Captain Katia Dinisio was happy to contribute to this event, especially after her role in the water awareness campaign that was launched in the Naqoura and Qulayla schools in recent weeks.
There's a need to explain to the young public water's importance and such a festival is a good tool for that, she said.
"I enjoyed the time I spent with these kids teaching them about the water usage especially because they seemed very much interested in the topic," the officer added.
The Mayor of Tyr, Hassan Dbouk, was on hand, at the festival. He lauded the effort made and joined UNIFIL and the children in planting a tree to commemorate the event.
"We are teaching them at an early stage to care for the most important natural resource and that is water. And we cannot but thank UNIFIL for its utmost interest in initiating such activities," the Mayor said.
"We now smile whenever we see UNIFIL; they have become a part of our daily life."