Tomorrow’s Leaders Program

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Visits to KAFA and Jeita

KAFA visit

On June 10th, 2010, the MEPI TL students had a day full of excitement where they departed from Byblos in the morning and headed to Beirut to visit KAFA and afterwards, the Jeita Grottoes.

The students learned from the speakers in KAFA that the organization was established in 2005 by a group of multi-disciplinary professionals and human rights activists. KAFA (Enough) Violence & Exploitation is a Lebanese non-profit, non-political, non-confessional civil society organization committed to the achievement of gender-equality and non-discrimination, and the advancement of the human rights of women and children.

KAFA is currently working on three projects. The first is an awareness campaign (yad bi yad didd al ‘onf) targeting men and young males to prevent violence against women. This project consists mostly of training men to be aware of their position as protectors and not abusers. KAFA is working on this project in some Arab countries, especially in Lebanon’s Baalbeck area.

The second project is about child sexual abuse. KAFA is teaching children how to protect themselves from sexual abuse, what the best ways are to safety, how to say no, and how to know when they are in a bad situation. People working on this project use colored picture books that are easily understood by children, guides for kids and parents, and also teach the parents how to react to their children when they report an incident and their responsibilities in that situation.

The third project is meant to protect domestic workers who come from abroad. These workers do not have proper laws to protect their human and civil rights, and they are being abused. KAFA is trying to pass a law in the parliament to preserve their lost rights and give some dignity to their work. KAFA is also involved in helping them in emergencies, as they provide counseling and send them to shelters if necessary.

Another important role KAFA plays is the provision of social counseling for women, children, and the abused in general. They inform people of their rights and the options they have if they want to make a change. KAFA is also currently working on an interesting campaign against dating violence in all of its forms: sexual, physical, verbal, and economical. The students found their visit to KAFA helpful, as it gave them a clear picture of some issues that they had seen in their lives and societies of which they had not fully realized the import. Rami El Masri and Carla Monzer are two MEPI TL students who were selected to intern with KAFA. After this visit, they realized how much excitement and knowledge they will have working with KAFA group.

Jeita visit

After their visit to KAFA, the students had lunch together and then began their journey to Jeita. The purpose of this was to give the students, especially those with non-Lebanese origins, an idea of the historical sites in Lebanon. Arzak Mohammed, a Yemeni MEPI TL student, used to suggest Jeita every time she was asked where she would like to go for an outing. “I have never seen such a beautiful place in my life. I am amazed how water can possibly form these beautiful shapes,”Arzak said after the visit. As the students explored Jeita, some took pictures, some used the train, and others bought souvenirs for their families and friends.