Separately Together part II. - Chabibeh Sporting Club
This is the second interview from our new article series, Separately Together. The name comes from the fact that we are far from each other but still we have common history, shared beliefs, which keeps us together in good times and in bad times. With this article series we would like to introduce you to our international partner organisations. If you missed the first one, you can read it here. Stay tuned for more!
Little did I know about Lebanon when I participated in a youth exchange in 2018. During that week, I was lucky to meet wonderful, energetic and warm-hearted people and I got to know more about the ups and downs they were facing. Since then, the TIA's and this special Lebanese organization's partnership grew further: our last collaboration together was a training course in October, 2019 in Lebanon. Today we are introducing Chabibeh Sporting Club and especially we are talking with Lama Zeinoun Tabet who works in the Youth Committee as a Projects Coordinator at the organization.
When and with what aim was the organization founded?
Chabibeh Sporting Club was founded in 2002 by a group of young people who were very active in sports in the region. The region where the club operates was the scene of the past Lebanese civil war, and suffers from post-war effects due to the lack or insufficient development programs for children and youth. This left children and youth at a disadvantage socially, culturally, educationally and economically.
Since its founding, Chabibeh Sporting Club distinguished itself through the dual approach it used with the youth and the children who join its activities by offering them professional and recreational sports, in addition to social and educational programs. The organization used sport as a tool to positively integrate young people in their society, and to develop the skills needed to empower them physically, socially, educationally, culturally and professionally, in order to respond to the challenges they face.
In 2008, Chabibeh founded its Youth Department called "Chabibeh Youth" which is working closely and in strong collaboration with the sports department "Chabibeh Sports" to continue the dual approach that the organization was built upon.
The two departments offer a one of a kind experience and a safe, interactive and supportive environment where young people can practice their favorite activity, build friendship, and acquire lifetime skills through the different local and international projects and programs. Sports, Youth Empowerment, Youth Participation, Volunteering, Peace and Reconciliation and Social Development became the main areas of Focus for Chabibeh whether through "Chabibeh Sports" or "Chabibeh Youth".
How do you reach the youth? What kind of programmes do you organize?
Chabibeh Sports department offers professional training for children and youth in different sport disciplines (Basketball – Taekwondo – Table Tennis – Football – Tennis), participation at local, regional and national championships in the different disciplines and summer sports day camp.
Children and youth join these activities on an ongoing basis, either through the advertisements we do, or through word of mouth from their friends. We also contact the schools in our region for this purpose.
Chabibeh Youth department offers Youth leading change ongoing program, through which youth can take part in capacity development workshops, engage in volunteering activities, have the chance to develop and implement their own community initiatives. Youth are outreached through an open call for participation which the organization puts online, and sometimes they are encouraged by their friends who are already part of this program.
Moreover, it offers Erasmus plus projects, through which they get the chance to take part in mobility ptojects outside Lebanon (and sometimes hosted in Lebanon). Also for these projects we do an open call and we share it on our platforms in order to reach all Lebanese youth. Young people who take part in these projects are requested to do follow-up activities after their return, for the youth of the organization and other orgnizations that Chabibeh Club collaborates with.
Chabibeh Sporting Club also applies for projects funded by international or national organizations, and to implement these projects, the organization engages its youth, offering them the chance to develop their skills further through direct experiences. The projects are mainly under the themes of sports for development, youth empowerment, peacebuilding and other youth related topics.
Tell us about your country's youth. What difficulties are they facing? How can you help them?
Lebanese youth face many challenges and in many levels. The percentage of young people is very low whether in municipal councils, parliament or council of ministers. Their under-representation makes it hard for them to transmit their concerns and needs to the decision makers. In addition, the youth policy was drafted in 2012 with no review or update or any practical measures to implement it, in addition to the refugee crisis that changed the local realities in Lebanon.
It became very clear that the educational system provides the knowledge but not the skills and in a rapidly changing economy and digitalization era, the educational system is not preparing the students to the future jobs.
Youth unemployment in Lebanon is very high, due to the deteriorating economic conditions. There are no studies that prospect the needs of the job market and feed it into the educational system, but no political framework for this to be done.
On community level, young people in marginalized areas lack safe spaces where they can take part in sports and youth activities, participate in projects and programmes that contribute to their personal and professional development, also enhance their participation and initiatives. This is what Chabibeh Sporting Club is offering, a space where young people meet, practice their hobbies, participate in skills development programs and youth activities, and enable them to come up with their own ideas and initiatives, beyond playing sports as a hobby.
Do you think that the civic society is independent and autonomous in your country? In your opinion in what field should the NGOs develop?
We believe that civic society has a large level of autonomy in Lebanon which gives space for creativity and large outreach. However what is needed to develop this sector is networking and collaborating together. This mind-set is unfortunately missing.
Are you a member of any local, national or international network?
Chabibeh Sporting Club is a member of the Net-Med Youth network by UNESCO, Anna Lindh foundation. In addition, Chabibeh is a founding member of the Euromed Citizenship network.
What do you think about TIA? Share a good memory with us. ☺
TIA and Chabibeh Sporting Club started collaborating more than 4 years ago in Erasmus+ projects. Our most recent collaboration was last October in Lebanon, which we were jointly implementing. (edit: Influence YOUth training course, Byblos, Lebanon) Working with TIA team is always a pleasure, an experience combining professionalism, friendship, collaboration and fun moments.
Memories are about people. The first encounter was with Zita, the amazing young lady full of life and motivation. (edit: Zita Szalai, programme director, Tudatos Ifjúságért Alapítvány, Hungary) It was a SALTO-Youth training in Paris, and this encounter day after day grew into a beautiful collaboration and a long partnership with a very special friendship scent.
We very much hope that this pandemic won't last long so that we can work together in real life with our Lebanese friends again. If you would like to know more about Chabibeh Sporting Club, you can follow them on facebook or instagram.