Four successful projects crown the efforts of students from across Lebanon who worked hand in hand to achieve their goals and serve their country
Beirut, June, 2014: On June 10, “Happiness Heroes” celebrated in the Beirut Hippodrome the achievements of Project Machrou3 L Jil L Jdid for 2014, which is part of the innovative social educational program launched four years ago by Bel Group Near and Middle East, represented by Picon, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and in cooperation with the local NGO Arcenciel. Throughout these four years, young citizens were able to implement a number of sustainable development projects aiming at serving their community in all its different groups and promoting their patriotism.
This year’s event had an exceptional setting with “Happiness Heroes” written all over it: from the invitation cards sent inside straw hats, to the fun ambiance, the amusing games, and the bright colors dominating the party. The youngsters were in charge of hosting the event, starting from welcoming the invitees upon their arrival and taking photo ops, to presenting the event and interviewing their guests: from the Ministry of Education, the General Coordinator of the Health and Environmental Education Division in the Ministry of Health Mrs. Sonia Najm, Ms. Joelle Bechara from Arcenciel, Ms. Jackie Fares, Director of Marketing in Bel Group Middle and Near East, and Ms. Rosie Boulos from the ambassadors Happiness Heroes.
After welcoming the attendees, Happiness Heroes shared their successful experience with invitees, where they highlighted the importance of this project which has contributed to reinforcing their patriotism and developing their sense of social responsibility. It has strengthened their faith in their dreams and in their ability to achieve what some people think may be impossible! One of the objectives of Machrou3 L Jil L Jdid is introducing students to their environment through encouraging them to work together to achieve sustainable development and union since childhood in order to contribute to their country's progress and development so that it reflects the image of the country where the Lebanese dream of living. This year, the focus was on the implementation of four projects in four regions in Lebanon: Beirut and its surroundings, the Bekaa, the North, and the South.
The event saw the display of two short films. The first gave a glimpse of the beginnings of “Machrou3 L Jil L Jdid” and the workshops in which young people got to know more on the meaning of sustainable development. With the help of professors, the students suggested ideas on the following topics: solidarity, health, the environment, and citizenship. In this first phase, Bel Group and Arcenciel chose projects conforming to the selection criteria, four of which have been voted for on Picon’s Facebook page to choose a project for each region.
The second short film showed how the students in each region cooperated to implement the four projects. Solidarity and unity constitute the foundations of the success of this initiative. Students have realized that unity is strength, and through collective action, they have a greater chance to achieve their dreams. Based on this idea, students in the North helped establish a garden on a land provided by the municipality. With the help of experts, they planted trees and flowers, also setting a number of children’s toys. In Beirut, particularly in the Raouche area, the Happiness Heroes established a bicycle lane so that lovers of this sport can practice the latter safely. In the Bekaa, the focus was on recycling. To avoid burning the waste accumulated in the country and polluting the air and soil, the Happiness Heroes distributed containers in Bekaa schools to sort plastic, glass, paper, and metal in order to be recycled. Finally, the project in the South consisted of providing a public transportation bus to facilitate the residents’ trips in southern towns, as public transportation is not made available to all areas in the South. Within this framework, students bought a bus passing through 15 towns, including Zarriye, Qusaybe, Tarfelsay, Ashtit, and Karaf, to transport the residents of these towns to and from Tyr and Nabatieh, the two cities which are the closest to said towns. A map was specially set up, stating the path and passing hours of the bus for every town, knowing that it has 15 stops.
After displaying the implemented projects, the two event presenters interviewed the four guests, where the General Coordinator of the Health and Environmental Education Division in the Ministry of Health Mrs. Sonia Najm commended the projects executed by Lebanon’s students, emphasizing on their importance for the community and hoping that the Ministry of Education and Higher Education could support all the schools in Lebanon to follow the example of the Happiness Heroes. As for Ms. Rosie Boulos, she talked about the ambassadors’ support of the students in the previous years, while Ms. Joelle Bechara from Arcenciel explained the goals of the workshops and how they were organized. The session concluded with Ms. Jackie Fares, Director of Marketing in Bel Group Middle and Near East, where she went back to the beginnings of the Happiness Heroes initiative and what made Picon launch it, stressing on the company’s excitement and commitment to keep supporting the project, as the achievements capped with success of the past four years pushed the company to further encourage the students to show their potential and develop their abilities in order to implement more constructive projects within the framework of sustainable development.
In the end, the students thanked the audience for accepting the invitation, and both adults and children sang the “Machrou3 J Lil J Jdid” anthem, where the Happiness Heroes reemphasized on the fact that Lebanon is their country and they are the only decision makers. They later joined Nancy and Elie from the Crazy Science show’s team to spend a good time and have fun playing different Kermesse games, in the hope of meeting at the beginning of next year with new projects heralding a promising future.