The living of "Al-Karantina"

This initiative was lead by UNDP Lebanon, but falls under the UN, EU and WB Reform, Recovery & Reconstruction Framework launched in response to the Beirut blast.

The devastating Beirut Port explosions caused major traumas across all social groups. This was even more present in the Karantina area, where the explosion also uncovered old traumas, reviving stories of mass deaths from the 1975 to 1990 civil war area, and the compounded crisis.

A safe and inclusive platform for people of Karantina has been provided through playback performances, documentation, and work on memorialization to heal the wounds of the explosions and foster social cohesion among Karantina’s different groups. The process was sought to be a recovery journey that focuses on the physiological support for the people of Karantina, including all nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and age groups.

More than 547 people were targeted by the playback theater performances, 254 youth were involved in the drama performance sessions, and 71 children were engaged in expressive arts sessions.

“It was a chance for a person to speak out his pain. This isn’t our first pain; we’ve seen that before and it had affected us too. We felt that there’s someone who cares about us and is trying his best to understand whatever it is we felt,” said Feryal El Hussein, who actively joined the different sessions.

Psycho social support project
 Psycho social support © UNDP Lebanon/Rana Sweidan

The residents’ stories were collected and transformed into a book and a memory box “The Living of Al Karantina”. This initiative attempts to document and archive the oral history of the area from the Lebanese Civil War to the Beirut Port explosions, stemming from the principles of witnessing and historiography—the two pillars of the peacebuilding process.

Psycho social activities © UNDP Lebanon/Rana Sweidan
 Psycho social activities © UNDP Lebanon/Rana Sweidan