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New friends

Children in Lebanon learn how to make friends with people from different cultures and faiths


A young boy dressed in blue jeans and a red t-shirt does a handstand next to a house in Lebanon

A child plays in Lebanon. Photo: Ruth Towell/Tearfund

In Burundi, a smiling man stands in the middle of a group of seated women who are dressed in colourful clothes

From: Peace and reconciliation - Footsteps 121

Actions we can take to help build peace and foster reconciliation in our homes and communities

Lebanon has a long history of tension between different religious and political groups. Sometimes this results in civil unrest and – at times – armed conflict.

One of Tearfund’s partners in Lebanon runs youth programmes designed to bring together young people from across religious and ethnic divides to learn more about one another, take part in activities alongside each other, and build relationships that start to bring understanding and healing.

Levon* is 16. He is from an Armenian Lebanese family and studies at a Christian school. Before he joined the youth centre he did not have any Arab or Muslim friends at all.

Levon says, ‘What changed most in me is how I see people who are different to me. Last year, I thought they were bad people. Today, however, I am much more open-minded than I used to be. 

‘What changed most in me is how I see people who are different to me.’

‘When I first joined the centre I used to hang out with Christian friends only, but now I have many Muslim friends. One of my good friends is Syrian. Moussa* and I were in the classroom during an activity where students made speeches to represent their people. The conversation sparked and our friendship took off that day.’

Levon says he learnt a lot during the sessions about the importance of listening to each other without judgement, and learning about each other’s beliefs. He says he also enjoyed a group activity that involved going out onto the streets and asking people questions to better understand attitudes and opinions within their own neighbourhood.

Young people such as Levon and Moussa have a natural and vital part to play in their communities. By making new friends and learning to hear and understand one another better, they can help to build peace.


*Names have been changed for protection

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