We are all human beings
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Letter to Friends around the World # 80

Shandra is a member of Beitouna, a centre that was created thanks to the initiative of some people from a neighbourhood in the North of Beirut. Here she shares her experience of how, she is trying to build peace all around her.

I've gone through many difficulties, for example I worked in a country where they didn't call me by my first name and treated me like a "servant." They didn't see me as a fellow human being but I always spoke to them politely in return. It's because of this suffering that I am sensitive to others.

Once, in a house near my work place, I saw a young Sri Lankan girl who was sleeping outside in the Winter on the balcony of the house where she was employed as a housekeeper. Why?, I asked the lady whose house I worked at. She told me that the owner of this house was a bad woman, that nobody liked her and that I shouldn't go to her house. After many attempts, I was able to enter this woman’s house. I discovered that the girl was sleeping on the balcony because she'd had some blood tests taken and whilst waiting for the results, her employer had put her out onto the terrace.

I took this girl away with me, leaving the woman with my passport and residence permit. For three days I taught this girl some words in Arabic, styled her hair, gave her some make up and then I went with her to get her test results from the hospital.

I then took her back to the house and her employer wanted to give me money. I told her that for me a person was far more important than money. She was ashamed and from that moment on she became a lot kinder to the girl and we became friends.

At our centre 'Beitouna', we don't distinguish between religions or nationalities, we live together in peace. Here, we have the belief that if you approach others, or go towards others, they in turn will understand that they can approach you. We must convey peace, come together and extinguish the flames of violence.

Shandra K., Lebanon