Students launch fundraiser for refugee families in Lebanon

17th July 2020

Students from Sheffield Hallam are raising funds for refugee families in Lebanon following a filmmaking trip to the region last year.

The group of students travelled to the Beqaa Valley to make a series of films to raise awareness of the displacement of refugees from Syria, an area where 1.5 million Syrian refugees still live in camps - more refugees per capita than any other country in the world.

Now the group of film and production students want to help the people they met in the Beqaa valley who welcomed them into their lives and their homes by raising funds for food bundles, as their lives are threatened by the coronavirus lockdown.

Covid-19 has meant that Syrian refugee families cannot leave their camps to find the labouring work, which was keeping them afloat, meaning they are now solely reliant on outside help.

Media student, Aislin Plaistow, said:

“Meeting the families in Beqaa Valley was the best experience of my life. We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the talented school children, as well as see first-hand the incredible work that the teachers and parents are doing there.

“We cannot put into words how worrying it must be for the families out there, not knowing if they will have enough money for food from one day to the next.

“We wish to fundraise as much as we possibly can for the people who welcomed us into their lives and homes and made such a huge impact on us.”

To help raise funds, the students are planning a mini online film festival to showcase the films they made whilst they were in Lebanon.

Film and media production student, Jess Mistry said:

“The families, teachers and students I met in Beqaa Valley during my time in Lebanon were amazing, they welcomed us with open arms and were the most generous people.

“They trusted us with their stories and journeys and being able to share this experience with them was a blessing.”

To support a family for three months costs £51 and the students are hoping to at least raise £3,400 for them and for Children on the Edge, a charity that supports 15,000 of the world's most marginalised children to realise their rights through the provision of education and the creation of protective environments. It also funds the school where the staff and students visited.

Film and production lecturer, Saskia Wilson, said:

“These families have been through so much and lost their homes and in many cases their loved ones during the conflict.

“Now they are struggling once again as a result of the pandemic and we want to do everything we can to support them.”

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