Nawaya Talks: The Untold Stories of Youth in Lebanon

Global Compact Network Lebanon in partnership with Nawaya Network team held “Nawaya Talks: The Untold Stories of Youth in Lebanon,” an inspiring and touching night of storytelling.

This event brought together youth that have endured and overcame significant obstacles and harsh circumstances that made them leaders and motivators for youth in Lebanon and around the world. Nawaya Founder and Director, Ms. Zeina Saab said, “Youth often fall through the cracks in society and get involved in crime, violence, drugs, extremism, depression, and suicide—due to the immense challenges in their lives, and due to lack of support.  In contrast, while the youth on stage at Nawaya Talks all went through incredibly difficult experiences, facing war, trauma, hunger, displacement, disability, illness, discrimination, poverty, and loss, they were resilient throughout the struggles and pulled through despite the odds.”

The event began with the delineation of a fruitful love story that fought through war, education hurdles and financial struggles, narrated by Nour and Eyad. “I took my end of year exams with an IV drip attached to my arm,” said Nour. “I once worked for an entire month for just $133, so I left the money and just walked away,” continued Eyad.

Walking on stage with a corporate bag in his hand, Ali Al Ali was the second speaker that fought through financial and health obstacles, to come closer to his dream of becoming a lawyer. From applying to multiple scholarships to fighting through a road accident, Ali’s determination did not dwindle. “I woke up in a hospital bed, seeing my university through the window. All I wanted was to go there to take my exam,” said Ali.

Hand in hand, siblings Hanan and Hassan portrayed the imagery of innovative youth that sought radical change from their living room home. With his parent’s unrelenting support and his determination, Hassan invented a massage appliance he calls the Zoro Jacket. “Youth in our village waste their summers sleeping or smoking arguileh. We decided to invent things instead,” said Hassan.

At the core of women empowerment, Yara battled through hunger and homelessness to fight her way through finding shelter and a job to support herself. “I went from being a teacher to mopping floors,” said Yara, as she recalled her obstacles throughout the years.

The final speaker of the night, Mohammad, gave a voice to people with disabilities, proving that they are capable of accomplishing their aspirations and being integrated in society, as he was. “I lost both my legs from a landmine explosion when I was 12,” said Mohammad.

“They proved to us that with the right support from the community – our youth can thrive,” concluded Ms. Saab, as she welcomed the participants back on stage to commend their courage and determination.