Around 90 community members gathered on May 24, 2010 to celebrate International Day of Families, International Day of Development, and Mother’s Day, and to elect a new Community Development Core Committee.
Held at the “Adoor Aghasarkissian” community hall of St. Sarkis Church in Bourj Hammoud, the gathering was organized by the JMP–L Community Development team and the Core Committee.
Organizers decided to hold the elections and mark the three occasions during the same event, since the Armenian community celebrates Mother’s Day throughout the month of May, and the other two occasions are celebrated internationally in the same month. In addition, according to the internal by-laws of the Core Committee, elections had to be held, because the committee had already completed its five-year term.
Community members were informed about the gathering through announcements (in Armenian and Arabic) that were posted on bulletin boards at the entrances of buildings, and through the invitations that were distributed by the committee members of each building as well as the Community Development team.
Importance of family and community
To celebrate Mother’s Day, two committee members handed out roses to the mothers who attended the community gathering. Also, coffee was served to attendees before the meeting to welcome them to the event.
Mr. Armen Tashjian, a Core Committee member, gave the welcome speech, thanking community members for attending the meeting. He explained the significance of the International Day of Families, International Day of Development, and Mother’s Day.
Specifically, he said that on May 15 the world celebrates Family Day — not very well-known or widely celebrated in Lebanon. He equated family with community, providing the example of neighbors assisting each other in urgent times, similar to family members.
He then talked about the importance of the International Day of Development, marked on May 21. He said the principles of community development and group work are directly linked to the concept of family: Community development is achieved when community members consider the community and its surroundings as their own family, and they show respect, care for safety and cleanliness, and extend a helping hand, when needed.
Achievements in 2009 and election of a new committee
Next, Taline Ladoyan, the JMP–L Community Development Program team leader, provided an overview of the works accomplished by the Core Committee during 2009. (Community members had already been informed about the works done prior to 2009 during a previous meeting held in January 2009.)
Ladoyan said that, throughout the five years, the committee worked in accordance with the suggestions of community members, by conducting meetings and implementing projects for the general good of the community.
Specifically, from January 2009 till May 2010, the committee organized activities for the children and youngsters through networking and partnerships with other organizations, including: Gam3 basketball training (ongoing) for children and youngsters (also organized in 2008); participation in the Tawassol 2009 summer camp at Balamand University; and a one-day International Management and Training Institute (IMTI) activity on learning about children’s rights through games and paintings.
For the past three years, the committee has set up an outdoor Christmas manger scene under the bridge connecting Bourj Hammoud and Jdeideh, to create a holiday atmosphere in the neighborhood. In addition, through the efforts of the committee, wall calendars have been prepared and distributed free of charge to the residents every year.
The community has also been provided the opportunity to participate free of charge in training sessions on computer and business literacy.
In addition, the committee worked closely with the Building Committees, by encouraging, assisting and directing them to initiate projects for the 10 buildings in the community, such as installing entrance interphones and closing the entrance doors of buildings with glass for security purposes.
Also, the committee, through its sub-committee of teenage volunteers, has regularly updated the posts on the bulletin boards at the entrances of the buildings.
After presenting the accomplishments of the committee till May 2010, Ladoyan gave the floor to the attendees to make suggestions to the new committee.
Next, the community members nominated people for the new Core Committee and the election took place.
Then, five families were chosen as being very active participants of community development projects. Their active members were granted Appreciation Certificates prepared by the Community Development team and signed by the Core Committee. They also received flower vases made by the trainees of the course on “Flower Arrangement, Soap and Candle Making.”
At the end of the meeting, the former Core Committee members were invited to cut the cake, on which an image of a family and the thought of the day — “Our Community is our Greater Family” — were imprinted.
The gathering ended with poems dedicated to Mother’s Day that were presented by some children and with songs performed by a community member.