As part of the United in Humanity project and only thanks to your help, we were able to make a donation to reBuild reRow this week. With this donation we support the reconstruction of a rowing training center in Beirut, which was completely destroyed by the devastating explosion there last summer. One of the initiators of the project is Farah Jaroudi, a fellow student of our colleague Dominik. Together with other athletes and members of the local rowing clubs, she initiated reBuild reRow in order to rebuild the training center as quickly as possible.
The huge explosion in the harbor of the Lebanese capital Beirut last August completely destroyed the training center of the Lebanese Rowing Association as well as many other buildings. This is only about 200 meters away from the explosion site and was directly exposed to the force of the detonation. Fortunately, no one was on site at the time of the explosion.
It is the only active rowing training center in Lebanon and is therefore of great importance for Lebanese rowing. Before the explosion, 30 to 40 athletes aged 18 to 40 from eight different clubs trained there. Many of them also work voluntarily for the Lebanese Rowing Federation and were well on their way to popularizing rowing in Lebanon and raising it to a new level of performance before the detonation. In addition, the training center is of great importance for the mental health of the athletes and club members and is an important social meeting place.
"Just like most people, sports is what we do after a long hard day of work and stress and where we go to blow [off] some steam. And as Lebanon has been going through very difficult times, it was the place where people go, enjoy their time, meet with their teammates and disconnect for a couple of hours. Our motivation is our athletes, they are heartbroken, and the idea of not being able to row is frustrating."
- Farah Jaroudi
step by step
For this reason, after the disaster and the great shock, the team of volunteers is now highly motivated to rebuild the training center as quickly as possible and make it usable. A three-step plan has been developed for this purpose. The first phase has just been completed and consisted of salvaging materials and equipment that were still intact and then removing the remaining rubble. This was an extremely emotional matter for the helpers: "We all felt overwhelmed. It was not easy seeing the boats that we used to train with cut to pieces. But it was a motivation to keep moving forward, get back on our feet, and hopefully be able to go back on the water soon," says Farah.
The next step ("ReBuild") is the planning and construction of the new training center before training equipment and materials are purchased so that the athletes can finally get back on the water ("ReRow"). The total cost is estimated to be around 200,000 Euros.
Farah hopes that she and the others will soon be able to pursue their great passion again. For her, sport is much more than physical performance: "It creates a healthy lifestyle. It teaches us companionship, support, love, sportsmanship, peace, fair play, companionship, challenge, embrace, and accepting losing and winning; being happy for our colleague's achievements, helping each other, and growing together. For me, the sports world is the translation of the world peace that we all dream of. The love for this sport is a great motivation to keep going."
Until then, there is still a lot to do and it will take a long time until Beirut will have recovered from the great catastrophe. With our donation of 1,500 euros, we would like to make at least a small contribution to helping the athletes get back to normality as soon as possible through rowing.
Further information and donation opportunities for the reBuild reRow project are available at here.
Images: Lebanese Rowing Federation