BILADI was created in 2005 with the aim to bring generations closer together through their heritage.
BILADI’s founder and manager, Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly is an archaeologist and journalist, who worked for many years on heritage in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Witnessing a systematic process of looting, destructing and damaging museums and archeological sites, Joanne realized that defining heritage had to be part of the educational system. This way, the younger generations will be aware of their history and can reintegrate heritage in their way of living list conflict.
educated on Lebanese heritage
trained for mouneh production
Biladi works on raising awareness of the importance of Mouneh and on the scientific value of its traditional products. For this reason, training sessions are organized in order to teach trainees how to prepare Mouneh while implementing hygiene practices. In addition to Mouneh, one of the targets of the project is to enhance the sense of identity, resilience, and solidarity between local communities.
In addition to Mouneh training, Biladi created also a mass Mouneh production program to reconnect people to their own traditions. All the food items from this mass Mouneh production were distributed to the beneficiaries to support vulnerable communities which are the most affected by the economic crisis. It helped them also to ensure food self-sufficiency and provide a possible income-generating activity.
Since 2016, Mouneh & Resilience project was able to include around 2800 beneficiaries in TVET courses on Mouneh production and good work practices.
Live your Heritage is a concept that was created by Biladi for post conflict communities, especially children. It revolves around the idea that allowing vulnerable children to know and own their heritage (both tangible and intangible) is re-connecting them to their source of identity which can play an important role in developing their personal self-esteem and producing a socio-emotional behavioral change and, at a later stage, “create a sense of individual and collective belonging”.
Based on the concept of Live your Heritage, 2 projects were implemented: Syria in My Mind and Lebanon in My Mind. Syria in My Mind project aims to create a positive image of Syria in the minds of Syrian refugee children to help them build a sense of belonging and pride toward their homeland. As for Lebanon in My Mind project, it aims to (re)create a positive image of Lebanon in the minds of Lebanese children and to develop a deeper sense of belonging and pride toward their homeland. Several activities and sub-activities focused on cultural heritage were carefully designed to reach the goals of both projects.
“Beit Sitti w Jeddi '' Center is a creative concept Biladi created to preserve heritage. Located in the Agricultural Technical Schools of Fanar and Abdeh, “Beit Sitti w Jeddi '' is a model of a Lebanese traditional house designed to concretely introduce children to their cultural heritage through the typical house of their grandparents.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and dozens of public schools, thousands of students aged 7 to 14 have visited “Beit Sitti w Jeddi” since its inauguration, from all over Lebanon, to rediscover their heritage in 3-hour interactive educational activities.
Biladi designed and implemented the “No to Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities” program to raise awareness among the younger generation about the importance of the archaeological sites in Lebanon and the need to preserve them. The program targeted public school students aged 10 to 14 from all over Lebanon, regardless of nationality. The project took place in Baalbek, Tyre, Anjar, Jbeil, the National Museum of Beirut and specific locations near the Lebanese-Syrian border where the trade in antiquities is rampant and the degradation of small archaeological sites is part of daily life.
More than 1500 students and 50 teachers from 40 public schools visited the sites/National Museum of Beirut. The visit was followed by a workshop in which they learned about the sites and artifacts scattered around Lebanon.
This project has four outcomes: The first outcome is raising awareness about safeguarding cultural heritage which takes place by setting a center for training on the Emergency response to cultural heritage. It will be the first-ever center set for this purpose in Lebanon.
The center will train DGA and BNL staff and IWR from LAF, in addition to Civil Defense members and university students. The training aims at setting emergency response plans that can guarantee the safety of the storage and other cultural properties against conflicts or natural hazards. The second outcome is concerned with documenting heritage in times of crisis. The third is setting an inventory system for the archeological storages of the DGA to guarantee their safety, in addition to data entry of the looted objects on the Art loss register. The project aims also at creating the first map of the Lebanese Army Barracks which are Ottoman or French barracks and have a heritage value of their own. In addition, the project plans to continue setting the BlueShield emblems, which was initiated at the Jouhouzia 1, to set additional 15 emblems on museums and libraries, and upgrade all the emblems on the world base data system.