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BEIRUT, Lebanon, October 16 (UNHCR) – Thirteen-year-old Mohammad* and Ramadan,* aged 12, face each other in a Beirut youth centre and take turns adding a brightly coloured LEGO brick to the growing tower in front of them. But it's more than a game for the two boys, who are among the 520,000 Syrian children forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in Lebanon, most of them separated from family or abandoned like Mohammad, since the Syria crisis erupted in 2011.
When Mohammad fled from his home in the Syrian town of Idlib, he left his childhood behind. The UNHCR-LEGO project is based on the core principles that all children, including the forcibly displaced, have the right to play and education. For Mohammad, the play sessions have had a substantial role in helping to build his confidence and develop other essential skills. In another exercise, Kim and her fellow instructors, asked the children to make a specific gesture with their hands when shown a different coloured brick.
She added that one of the most effective games was to get the children to associate a colour with something they either love or hate. 2008 Nansen Refugee AwardThe UN refugee agency has named the British coordinator of a UN-run mine clearance programme in southern Lebanon and his civilian staff, including almost 1,000 Lebanese mine clearers, as the winners of the 2008 Nansen Refugee Award. Christopher Clark, a former officer with the British armed forces, became manager of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre-South Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) n 2003.
Their work helped enable the return home of almost 1 million Lebanese uprooted by the conflict. UNHCR started distributing emergency relief aid in devastated southern Lebanese villages in the second half of August. Although 90 percent of the displaced returned within days of the August 14 ceasefire, many Lebanese have been unable to move back into their homes and have been staying with family or in shelters, while a few thousand have remained in Syria. Since the crisis began in mid-July, UNHCR has moved 1,553 tons of supplies into Syria and Lebanon for the victims of the fighting. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in SyriaUNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to the Syrian capital Damascus on 2 October, 2009 to meet Iraqi refugees two years after her last visit.


Switzerland: UNHCR Finding Pathways for Syrian RefugeesIn the pursuit of innovative ways to help Syrian refugees, a conference in Geneva considers proposals for other pathways such as humanitarian admission, scholarships, family reunification and labour mobility. Syria: Hope Returns to Baba AmrTwelve out of 36 neighbourhoods in the city of Homs are in desperate need of reconstruction. Syria: Heading Home to RuinsNearly half a million residents from Homs and surrounding areas have been displaced by heavy fighting, some multiple times within Syria, while others have fled abroad. Debrief this exercise by having the team identify ways tomaximize the “best team” characteristics.
The interconnecting plastic bricks are helping the two boys to recover their lost childhood and to strengthen their confidence and communication with others.
But he is fortunate to be among a group of 15 Syrian boys and girls who are learning how to work together, recover from trauma, rebuild their confidence, make friends and rediscover the joy of education and play under a programme organized by UNHCR and funded by the LEGO Foundation. Local aid workers like Heshme have been trained to guide the children in activities using LEGO bricks donated by the Foundation. If I could spend all day playing with the LEGO bricks, I would," he added, before following his friend Ramadan and placing another piece on the tower.
It looked like straightforward fun, but as Kim pointed out, the exercise focused on team building and conflict resolution, helping to build the confidence of the children and their interaction with each other. The more positive attributes that are said, the higher the tower," explained Kim, who works for the Lebanese NGO Himaya. After all they have experienced, some find it hard to say something positive about a stranger, but we ask them to dig deep as we are sure they can find something they like, such as their voice, their hair, anything.
His teams have detected and destroyed tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and tens of thousands of mines.
But there has been a cost – 13 mine clearers have been killed, while a further 38 have suffered cluster-bomb injuries since 2006. Items such as tents, plastic sheeting and blankets are being distributed to the most vulnerable. That has included nearly 15,000 tents, 154,510 blankets, 53,633 mattresses and 13,474 kitchen sets. The award-winning American actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, took the opportunity to urge the international community not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who remain in exile despite a relative improvement in the security situation in their homeland.


One of the biggest challenges facing returnees, is rebuilding their homes in the rubble of old Homs and Hamediyeh. Without self esteem and a positive outlookon life, employees can be hard to work with and become depressed.Depression can lead to large amounts of time off work and increasedsicknesses. The session helped to break the ice and get the children playing happily once more, something most had not done in a long time. This includes almost 145,000 submunitions (bomblets from cluster-bombs) found in southern Lebanon since the five-week war of mid-2006. Southern Lebanon is once more thriving with life and industry, while the process of reconstruction continues apace thanks, in large part, to the work of the 2008 Nansen Award winners.
UNHCR supplies are being taken from stockpiles in Beirut, Sidon and Tyre and continue to arrive in Lebanon by air, sea and road. Jolie said most Iraqi refugees cannot return to Iraq in view of the severe trauma they experienced there, the uncertainty linked to the coming Iraqi elections, the security issues and the lack of basic services. Four years on, returning residents and Syrians displaced from other parts of the country are coming together to rebuild the area. In order to prevent your staff from feeling low or depressed,team building activities to build self esteem are available. On the lighter side, a red onemight mean they share a recent accomplishment or success.Although these team building activities are not made only for selfesteem building, it is safe to say each one will do just that. The Goodwill Ambassador visited the homes of two vulnerable Iraqi families in the Jaramana district of southern Damascus. Theseactivities are meant to include the whole group, and allow every personthe chance to speak. She was particularly moved during a meeting with a woman from a religious minority who told Jolie how she was physically abused and her son tortured after being abducted earlier this year in Iraq and held for days. Allowing people to share and feelappreciated by others is the number one way to make sure that selfesteem is brought back.



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