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My name is Mohammed Rashid (Sammy) and I have been with Hitachi Solutions for almost fifteen years. In September, I went on a charity deployment with Human Appeal, an International charity, to Lebanon as a volunteer. There was a team of around 30 people on the deployment, mainly volunteers who have raised funds for refugees in Lebanon, as well as a few members of staff from the charity.

On the first day, after a briefing at the hotel in Beirut, the team travelled to an area called Saida where we visited a warehouse. The team packed 550 boxes of food parcels, each weighing around 25kg, that would provide families with one months worth of food to cook. We distributed the parcels on the second day in an area called Arsal. Each family was provided with a food parcel, toys and a bag of sweets. We split into groups, visited tents and had a Q&A session with families to help the volunteers gain an understanding about why the families ended up in a refugee camp and what an average day looks like for them.

On the third day, we travelled to a scouting location in Qaroun, where we used the kitchen facilities to prepare and cook hot meals for 275 families (rice, chicken, salads, yoghurts). We then went to a camp to distribute the meals along with hygiene kits for each family. On the fourth day, we went to Saida and distributed hygiene kits and ‘back to school’ kits (stationary, backpacks) to 75 families in a residential area and then travelled to a nearby camp where we delivered more hygiene kits and ‘back to school’ kits.

food parcels for charity
group of people stood in front of charity sign

On the fifth day, a football stadium was hired where orphan children were invited to take part in a fun day. A football match was held against the volunteers as well as obstacle course races. We finished the day by providing the orphans with a hot meal and provided them with ‘back to school’ kits. The final day of the trip was used to reflect on the experience. The team were taken to a mountain resort where we discussed our experiences and were able to share ideas for future deployment trips.

Along with being involved with the distributions, I was able to conduct photography and videography to help the charity showcase the fantastic work they are doing and help attract donors and volunteers. I was able to use prior experience of charity deployments and my Mental Health First Aid training by Hitachi Solutions, to help with the reflection sessions as it was a heart-breaking experience to see the conditions that refugees face in Lebanon.