Lessons learned

Faculté des sciences sociales
From the Field

Par Fatima

Student, DVM, minor in Sociology

Picture of a bag with some little international flags on it.
(En anglais seulement)

“In a time where uncertainty is parading through our communities, seeing a flicker of hope goes a long way.”

Fatima, DVM, minor in Sociology, Mines Action Canada, Lebanon: Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand (LMRC), Program Support Officer

The international internship, even in its virtual form, allows us as students to be part of bringing hope into peoples lives. We do this by supporting the programs that help people in a tough place find a way to sustain themselves and provide them with all the means necessary for them to flourish.

There is a famous saying in Lebanon that translates to, “When you see the hardships of others, your worries start to fade.” I truly understood the meaning of this saying while completing my virtual international internship this fall. I was partnered through Mines Action Canada with the Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to speak to the beneficiaries of the mine victim assistance programs offered by the faculty and gain insight into the lives of those who have been afflicted.

While we are lucky to have a roof over our heads and ample food on our table, there are many people out there who are fighting everyday to be able to provide for those families. These fights become especially difficult with the physical and mental impairments caused by being a mine victim. Many of the families I spoke to have more than one victim in the household, often causing them to rely on one member of the family for sustenance. Others remain the provider for their household despite their condition. Being offered victim support for these families is a dream come true as government support is scarce.

Prior to the support provided by Balamand, many of the beneficiaries had never dreamed of attending any type of post secondary education or receiving a formal certification, a privilege we often take for granted. For many, this new degree provided them with the self confidence they needed to persevere and make the best of their situations. The beneficiaries highly encouraged the continuation of such support programs during these difficult times Lebanon is facing.

When hearing of such harsh experiences and living conditions, the issues we face in our everyday lives start to sound miniscule. It truly puts the privileges we often ignore into perspective. Even with the world shut down, we were able to continue on with our studies, internships, and jobs from home; others could not dream of this during normal days. The lessons learned during this internship surpass the realm of the academic world and fall into every aspect of our life.