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University of Balamand > News > Archive > An Inspiring Community Fair

Spreading Awareness 
Among participants at the Community Fair were the Balamand Red Cross Club who distributed material
to raise awareness about the dangers of AIDS, and ways to prevent it.

An Inspiring Community Fair​

On December 5, on the occasion of International Volunteer Day, the Career Services Center organized its annual community fair in Zakhem Hall with the participation of students, faculty and representatives from a number of NGOs. Students and guests shared their success stories with the audience.

Founder of the Nawaya Network Zeina Saab told the Zakhem audience that she decided to launch the network in the hope of making an impact on her society. “During my work as a consultant on a development project with the United Nations, in a small village in Bekaa, a young girl came up to me and showed me beautiful sketches of dresses that she had drawn.  She didn’t have any skills except her own imagination,” said Ms. Saab.

This, she added, “made me realize that there are so many hidden talents in deprived areas and if we just give these youth a chance to reveal them, to move forward, they can lift themselves out of poverty and make a difference.”

In 2011, as soon as she returned from California, Ms. Saab started working on the idea, and it was not long before “it became known as the Nawaya Network, dedicated to developing the hidden potential of disadvantaged and at-risk youth.”

The network has also developed an interactive online platform whose aim is to empower disadvantaged and at-risk youth by connecting them with resources to help develop their talents and interests.

In turn, Suzanne Talhouk discussed the idea behind her NGO, “Feil Amer,” that aims at reinforcing the use of the Arabic language “in order to preserve Arab identity.”  

The only speaker to offer her remarks in Arabic, Ms. Talhouk called on the Lebanese not to neglect the Arabic language arguing that language has a direct impact on the production of identity and creative cultural sustainability.

Loryne Atoui, founder of One Wig Stand, a breast cancer awareness and support group, shared with the audience the personal initiative behind the project that turned into an NGO. Smiling, but clearly tense with emotion, she explained, “the reason I started One Wig Stand was because my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.”  

“One Wig Stand came to me as an  idea in 2010 when I asked my mother, about her wig stand, because she had lost her hair, and she had a wig stand where she placed her wig so it wouldn’t lose its shape. She told me that she was sharing it with another woman.” This, she said, led to her launching her blog, a platform for women to share their stories with other women who have cancer. 

“Since our launch in 2010, we’ve been actively working towards spreading awareness in our own unique way and providing support for patients through our on-the-ground campaigns, such as Bras for a Cause and Make the Cut, a hair donation event.

In turn, Ziad Sankari, founder and chief technology officer at CardioDiagnosis, talked about his experience in starting his own business. Mr. Sankari encouraged students to develop their own businesses and “to be aspiring entrepreneurs.” 

Mr. Sankari has developed a Remote Cardiac Early-Failure-Prediction Monitoring System which has been credited with having an important impact on medicine diagnosis. The device combines cardio monitoring and GSM communications to track cardiac patients in their daily life. He encouraged students to shape their own ideas and move ahead with their own entrepreneurship.

All in all a very successful and inspiring  community fair.
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