Children enjoying the outdoors in Lebanon
I think that creativity is something that should be cherished and encouraged. This story, about a youngster from Lebanon, shows that at SOS Children, this same view is shared:
Anas, 18, has been at the SOS Youth Facility in Jal el Dib for three years. Located in a suburb of Beirut, most boys who grow up in SOS Children's Village Kfarhay move here as they prepare for an independent life. At the age of 12, Anas developed a passion for poetry and to write and express himself in that form. He has been working on developing his writing skills since then and has continued to invest the time and effort into exploring different genres of poetry and trying new writing styles over the past years.
"Since I started writing, I have been inspired by a number of different poets and writers. I have imitated the styles of many famous poets, including Nizar Qabbani and Gibran Khalil Gibran [two famous contemporary Arabic poets] and continue to experiment and discover different genres," says Anas, after reciting a few of his recent works proudly and enthusiastically in front of the other boys at the youth house. "I've lately discovered a new genre, which was mostly used by Al-Mutanbi - a famous Arab poet who died in 965 - which involves a lot of self-praise. I like this style a lot; it's fun and I like to be able to praise myself," explains Anas with a cheeky smile.
"One day I'd like to create my own genre; poetry is the best way for me to express myself. I would have loved it to be a form of communications with others as well, but not everyone is interested in poetry and able to understand it and communicate through it," explains Anas who just scored an average of 15 out of 20 in Arabic language class, earning him the highest grades among his class mates.
After sharing a few more of his poems, including a piece he wrote when he was angry at his French teacher for kicking him out of class, Anas starts to show off an article that he wrote for the school magazine last year. "It was one of the best articles - that's why they published it. I underlined the importance of loving, protecting and building one's own country in it. I was inspired by Gibran Khalil Gibran - a renowned nationalist - when I wrote it," explains Anas who is of Palestinian nationality (being a child of refugees, he has never seen Palestine).
Joseph Daher, youth leader at the SOS Youth Facility, supports the young man in developing his writing skills and interest in poetry. "Last year Anas asked me for a book by the late Mahmood Darwish [a Palestinian national poet and author], so I bought one for him as a gift when he passed his exams. He has been developing this interest since he moved into the youth house and I'm happy to help him," says Joseph.
"Anas is smart, mature and serious; he likes to write and share his writings with others. To motivate him, I have encouraged him to compile his works so that we can perhaps get them published one day. I am also looking for contests he could enter," says the youth leader. The teenage boy, however, claims that he does not wish to publish his works anytime soon. "I'd rather keep my writings private for now; because I'm shy and because they are very personal. I don't mind sharing them with friends and colleagues though," he says.