• Microprojets

Beirut My Child

« Amidst the chaos, the impact on children has been severe. In a rapid assessment conducted by UNICEF’s partners between 10 and 24 August, half of the respondents said that children in their households were showing changes in behavior or signs of trauma or extreme stress. UNICEF estimates that around 100,000 children could be among those whose homes were damaged or destroyed, while some 600,000 could be in need of psychosocial support. « UNICEF report After the Beirut blast, and after all the fear witnessed in the eyes of Lebanon’s children, it was a necessity to make a leading step, and to take the initiative, in a country where its children are suffering on all levels. Believing in the power of the seventh art as a real tool that seeks change and in the power and importance of the mental health of children in their communities, “Beirut, My Child” is a new initiative created by Beirut Film Society. Animation can be an effective medium through which to express complex and subtle ideas. It can be addressed to explore difficult themes, events and ideas. One of the many interesting qualities observed from using animation is how its process can enable the visual externalization of thoughts and feelings that may be difficult or impossible to verbalize through talking based therapy approaches alone. It is also valuable in the way it can bring anonymity to representations of real people as well as having the ability to the symbolic and expressive. Among our top objectives, is to create awareness about the importance of giving a seat for children at the table, which is more vital now than ever especially after the explosion that took place in Beirut on August 4. Children have always shaped how society will function and grow and their voices have always mattered. From this perspective, “Beirut, my Child” initiative was created, believing that in time of crisis, culture, arts and cinema are the main saviors. What if we are empowering children living in the most vulnerable areas in Lebanon and coming from both the host and displaced communities to tell their stories? We believe in cinema as a universal language that can cross all the cultures, despite of the differences in backgrounds, education, religion, and gender. In parallel, we believe in knowledge to be a powerful tool and a responsibility put in our hands which should be transferred to everyone so all the weak voices are heard. Cinema can heal and can be the perfect tool to fight anxiety, fear and violence. “Beirut, My Child – Voices of Children” offers children a hands-on training on all the elements required for the production of a video animation. Our goal is to promote an appreciation of video animation, and to foster an active approach to animated films, while encouraging creative thinking, storytelling, and self-expression. Through this initiative, many short animated videos will be written, animated, and fully executed by children using different techniques. Beirut Film Society’s professionals, mentoring various groups of children, will lead this project; and the program will provide training on animation supervised by professional animators. By offering training and workshops using animation in therapy and community arts practices, we will be supporting engagement in treatment, reduction of anxiety, awareness and promotion for mental health importance.

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