"the best chaos"
The name of this NGO reflects a very Lebanese way of dealing with a crisis. Imane Nasreddine Assaf, pictured above, founded Ahla Fawda in 2014, to support the once vibrant community of Hamra in the centre of Beirut. Organising street festivals, bringing businesses together, the NGO encouraged locals to be active in looking after their community. People were given the opportunity to make a positive situation out of a negative one, hence the name Ahla Fawda which means “the best chaos”.
Swapping household recycling for food
One of the reasons Imane and her team were invited to take part in the V & A, Dundee in January 2023 was to show how small communities can make a difference. To encourage households to recycle in Beirut, Ahla Fawda ask members to bring in their household recycling and in exchange they are given food, clothes and medicine. Imane brought with her from Beirut some of the up-cycled objects made from the recycled objects. These were on display in the V&A’s exhibition Plastic. Remaking Our World.
Aid to Aleppo
Despite the dire situation in Lebanon, Ahla Fawda have been quick to respond to the crisis in the north west of Syria. After more than 10 years of war, people in the area feel totally forgotten. Working with other NGOs, Ahla Fawda were able to fill the trucks in the photo above with over 3,000kg of donated blankets, clothes and food from their community in Lebanon and abroad. Alongside Caritas Syria, they have been distributing this to 460 people sheltering in a convent and a school. On their way back to Beirut, they stopped in Latakia and Jableh, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, to deliver further donations.
If you would like to support Ahla Fawda, either their distribution in north west Syria or their community work in Beirut, here is their go get funding page from their website.