The First Step

The First Step

Dates: 2018 - 2019

Promoting Cultures of Tolerance through Video and Song

A creative initiative that addresses the stigmatisation of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Saida, Lebanon. 

Divisions exist between the Lebanese population of Saida and the refugee populations residing in the city. Syrian and Palestinian refugees face discrimination and marginalisation, from education, arts, culture and the media. Xenophobic attitudes are a constant challenge for refugees both inside and outside of the camps.

The team, which included both native-born Lebanese people as well as those from refugee communities, had experienced conflict, discrimination and marginalisation. They wanted to utilise their skills in song production and videography to make an impact on their community and reduce the stigmatisation of refugees.

They trained themselves in song-writing across 4 intensive days of workshops with local hip hop artist Bob Arja. And brushed up on filming and editing with an expert videographer. Using these skills, they produced one song and one documentary which highlighted the lived experiences of refugees in Saida.

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Empowered and Inspiring Others

The group recorded the song in their own music production studio. To produce the accompanying music video and the documentary they then travelled across Saida to pick the perfect spots. The different locations were chosen specifically so the team could highlight the places that meant the most to them. This included their youth-led studio, neighbourhoods they were familiar with and breath taking views across the city.

The documentary discusses the participants’ engagement in the local arts scene and how they use their skills to train others in view of bringing young people with different backgrounds together and build their capacities.

The videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and gained hundreds of reactions each. They can be viewed on the project’s Facebook page along with behind-the-scenes shots and footage they they posted throughout, documenting the process.

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Find out more about the impact of the project in Saida.


“Our idea was to promote a convergence of views through arts, to oppose xenophobia and rejection… which allows us to think positively
about ourselves and about society.”

Team Member

The First Step

“We are touching upon an issue that created a huge gap in our society. It will worsen if we do not address it … by promoting tolerance.”

Team Member

The First Step

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If you would like to find out more about our impact, or would like to discuss future opportunities, we would love to hear from you.

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