Lebanon, Our Story seeks to tap into the power of storytelling in order to write a new, shared story for Lebanon, one based on openness, transparency, and accountability. The project was formed in response to poor civic engagement and social erosion driven by sectarianism, in particular the effects of this on host communities and displaced people.
Lebanon, Our Story is implemented by SAT-7 and brings together young members (aged 15-25) of various religious or belief groups within Lebanon, including displaced Syrians, Palestinians, and Armenians. Lebanon, Our Story uses storytelling to enable youth to contribute to a shared narrative of hope that drives social cohesion and provides an impetus for meaningful civic engagement. One of the multiple projects under the umbrella of Lebanon, Our Story is the Storytelling Clubs.
Storytelling Clubs are a series of group activities intended to build resilience and improve young people’s mental health. The format was originally designed by Jeunesse International – Munich and International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI).
For this project, these activities were adapted to focus on advancing social cohesion. Participants were separated into six groups across three age groups (two groups of high-school students, two of university students, and two of young adults). They were guided through a process of offering each other peer support across community lines, identifying common struggles, interests, and means of overcoming hardship.
The sharing of these stories is intended to bridge groups that have been divided and bond people together around our common humanity, shared space, and experiences, so that Lebanon’s youth may be better positioned to build – to rewrite their shared story. A story characterised not only by the absence of war but by the presence of true peace.