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President-Designate Visits Lebanon

September 2016

The executive committee of Rissho Kosei-kai's Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace, chaired by Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, the organization's executive specialist in charge of interreligious cooperation, led a project evaluation team to Lebanon from August 23 to September 1. It was accompanied by President-designate Kosho Niwano.

While in Lebanon, President-designate Niwano visited five Palestinian refugee camps, including the Wavel refugee camp, near the city of Baabek, about 85 km northeast of Beruit, and the Bourj el Barajneh refugee camp, in a southern suburb of Beirut. She personally handed Dream Bags to many children at three elementary schools in those camps. Dream Bags are handmade cloth bags of gifts such as toys and school supplies, which are collected every year from members of Rissho Kosei-kai across Japan through the Dream Bag Project for children suffering from conflict. Last year the project collected 22,996 Dream Bags throughout Japan, and President-designate distributed with UN workers some of the 9,300 shipped to Lebanon last February.

President-designate Niwano also visited the Makassed University of Beirut, College of Nursing and Health Sciences to meet Palestinian students and nurses.

Also during her stay in Lebanon, Rev. Niwano met many Lebanese religious leaders, representing Christian and Muslim communities.

The Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace has continued to support two aid projects for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in collaboration with its local partner, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). One project is distribution of Dream Bags to children in refugee camps. The Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace sends Dream Bags the children in countries or regions where they suffer from conflict or racial and social discrimination. The fund's other project is support for UNRWA's program of training Palestinian nurses at the university.

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