It really felt like a Happy Eid in Tibnin, especially at the town's centre where hundreds of children gathered on 21 August to enjoy a day of fun with UNIFIL's Finnish and Irish peacekeepers in an event coordinated with the Lebanese Association for Human Promotion and Alphabetization (ALPHA), World Vision, and Tibnin's charity fund.
Laughter, running around, and loads of fun was the centre piece of Tibnin's event, which started with a clown performance that ignited the whole audience. The clowns, who joined the show from the Bekaa valley, presented a lively comic show. The children broke out into laughter countless of times, especially when UNIFIL soldiers participated in the show.
Lt Commander Kari Ahrnberg, the CIMIC officer in the Irish- Finnish battalion explained that this event originated from a joint effort between UNIFIL, the municipality of Tibnin, and local NGOs.
According to Lt. Commander Ahrnberg, UNIFIL's contribution consisted of donating biscuits, soft drinks, and footballs to the children. In addition, UNIFIL's Finnish-Irish contingent presented a special opportunity to the children to explore the armoured personnel carriers (APC) and to get a taste of what it feels like to be a peacekeeper. The event allowed the children to get to know and understand peacekeepers and their work a little better.
The children grasped the opportunity, and hopped on the APCs, exploring them inside and outside. Some of them even called for their parents to capture their happy moments on camera. Their enthusiasm was obvious, as they chatted and expressed their awe in actually being in an APC next to UNIFIL peacekeepers, who were guarding their safety at all times.
The Vice president of Human Promotion and Alphabetization (ALPHA), Mrs. Salma Fawaz, noted that organising activities with UNIFIL contingents is common in Tibnin. She said: "UNIFIL peacekeepers are a part of our lives. They have managed to create a very peaceful and happy environment when interacting with the locals." The event was concluded with a play by the author Yasser Abo Yaghi and put on by World Vision. The play's theme focused on the importance of loving one another in the community.
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