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Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer MacDonald’

The Hadaya Toy Basket Project: Mission Accomplished

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Hadaya Toy Basket Co-Founder Jennifer Macdonald in Beirut with a few soccer balls donated mainly by the Asheville, North Carolina Community, all of which were distributed to Syrian Refuges Camps in Lebanon on June 22. These camps are actually getting less donor action at the moment…and the basic reality of involvement in them is that it helps forge a positive bridge between the Arab world and the west…and that bridge needs to really be strengthened…as extremism must be rolled back the keys to a better future in our view are very strong positive connections, projects and collaborations between the Arabian world and the west and the rest of the world….though particularly…the west.

June 22 2015, Beirut, Lebanon The Hadaya Toy Basket Project successfully distributed 200 packages packed with toys for Syrian Refugee kids in Camps In Lebanon today.
For More Visit The Luminous Scope.com by clicking on the text below. 


We woke up early to haul the 200 toy bags down 6 flights of stairs, badly underestimating the amount of time and strength it would take! Friend and neighbor, Simon, eventually stepped in to help and we finally got all 200 down to the waiting bus.

Distribution Day

We arrived at the first camp, Musaab al Tuliani to a waiting crowd of mostly women (dressed in their finest) and children who had been told to expect something special today. Despite the number of people and the anticipation, distribution went pretty seamlessly.

The kids were thrilled beyond words to be getting an unexpected and special bag of treats…. within fifteen minutes this was happening:


The Luminous Scope Show: “Dis (placed)” to Open October 14 in Asheville

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


It has been reported that LAST WEEK….300 thousand refugees fled Syria into Turkey….OVER A SEVEN DAY PERIOD. Overall, 9 million Syrians have abandoned their homes since 2011 (See Press Release Below)

Three kids, Musaab Al Tuliani (tent camp), Lebanon

Photo: Jennifer MacDonald

This summer, somewhere between 110 and 112 THOUSAND…Palestinians were displaced (through losing their homes) during “Operation Protective Edge.” This artshow “((Dis)placed,” opening in Asheville, N. C. next Tuesday October 14) profiled below,  puts a very human face on the displaced from Syria…and as a photo collector and someone who believes that relationships between ARAB PEOPLE and WESTERN PEOPLE can and will improve dramatically…I am very interested 1) in collecting these photos  and 2)  in supporting work of The Luminous Scope as much as I possibly can (In reverse order, but collecting these photos does support the work and I do recommend it a lot).  You can also sponsor Toy Baskets which I personally will do asap. (See Upcoming Story Above on the Toy Basket Drive). This work is at the fore front of communications between The West and the Arab World….again…a totally heroic and utterly very exciting and moment to moment world changing achievement.

“Having traveled to this region many times over the years, I’ve seen firsthand the devastation and destruction of this rich culture and its citizens, as well as how much hope and joy a small amount of compassion can bring to these communities” says Jennifer MacDonald, founder of and the primary journalist and photographer/filmmaker behind THE LUMINOUS SCOPE. “I wanted to shine a light on one small area of this crisis, in one camp, to help people empathize and hopefully activate some support.”

Musaab Al Tuliani, Lebanon      Photo: Jennifer MacDonald


(DIS)PLACED – Life As A Tent City Refugee OPENING OCTOBER 14, 2014 – aSHEville Museum, Wall Street

ASHEVILLE, NC, October 1, 2014 – What is the real story behind any of the humanitarian disasters now affecting large portions of the global population? What we see and hear on TV or the internet is just a small piece of the truth. (DIS)PLACED – Life As A Tent City Refugee, opening Tuesday, October 14, 2014 from 6:00p – 8:00p hopes to shine a little more light on just one of these stories.

An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 2.5 million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version made by user Kashmiri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest humanitarian disaster in the last 20 years and the displacement of nearly half of the population of the country has had, and will continue to have, far-reaching global effects. This exhibit is designed to inform the public of the complexity of this issue and offer some practical ways in which individuals can help.

Highlighting one specific camp – Musaab Al Tuliani, in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon, only five kilometers from the Syrian border – and using maps, photos, film clips and text, the exhibit will explore the challenges of Syrian refugees, as they struggle with daily life and meeting basic human needs.

“Having traveled to this region many times over the years, I’ve seen firsthand the devastation and destruction of this rich culture and its citizens, as well as how much hope and joy a small amount of compassion can bring to these communities” says Jennifer MacDonald, photographer and journalist. “I wanted to shine a light on one small area of this crisis, in one camp, to help people empathize and hopefully activate some support.”

Co-curator and exhibit designer Vanessa Bell is equally passionate about highlighting the mass of humanitarian issues and suffering currently affecting our world and the need for empathy,

“Individually, it’s hard to believe that we can effect much change in the world but I am a great believer in the power of positive thought and prayer,” she says, “and sometimes all it takes a small reminder, a moment of empathy, understanding, or support.”

Jennifer MacDonald is a multi-award winning producer/writer (Special Jury Prize at Sundance – www.anywhereusathemovie.com) with years of experience in many aspects of film making, and whose special area of interest lies in North Africa and the Middle East. A former cryptologist, world traveller and polyglot (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and some French), she currently teaches and lectures about the culture and history of the Middle East and has started the first basic Arabic program for High School students in the American South with an emphasis on cross cultural connection and discovery.

Vanessa Bell is co-curator and designer of the exhibit. With an experienced and discerning eye for all things creative, she was instrumental in conceiving and compiling the visual story for (DIS)PLACED. Outside of this particular collaboration, Vanessa is a skilled marketer, graphic designer, and artist in her own right, with photography and mixed media art on display in several galleries in Asheville.

The new aSHEville Museum, 35 Wall Street, in downtown Asheville, is hosting the exhibit from October 14, 2014 until the new year. The museum seeks to educate, inspire, and empower present and future generations by sharing engaging stories, facts, narratives, and visual imagery of the richly varied achievements and experiences of women and girls throughout the world.

High resolution photos available upon request:    info@bellvdesign.com


The Luminous Scope’s Jennifer Macdonald Presents A Multimedia Exhibit on Syrian Refugee Camps in Crises

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Yesterday, 60 Minutes ran a story about The Middle East, that noted that 1.5 million Syrian Refugees live in camps in Jordon as of today. Jordon’s King, Adbullah II, noted that the country is going to have to start turning back Syrian refugees. There are 3 million Syrian refugees currently in Lebanon as well. And still more along the  Turkish border. There is a crises involving Syrians fleeing their homeland…and there are things that you and I can actually do about it.

Below is a story about a singular activist who is documenting life inside Syrian Tent Camps, and who is currently showing work from that effort, and is also in the midst of a toy drive she initiated for Syrian kids in these camps. In doing this work…Jennifer Macdonald is not only helping tell TRUE and REAL stories about life in the Middle East….which is essential…putting real faces and stories that humanize Arab life into the minds of Westerners, again…very essential  …But she is also helping present a different kind of Face of The West…to The Arab World.

This is as important as it gets…because this is a dialog….and an environment….that needs a lot of Positivity and Love and Humanization….Right at this very moment.


Jennifer MacDonald’s Luminous Scope Project focuses on Women In the Arab World initiating and involved with inspiring and very positive projects. She spent the summer working and living with Syrian refugees on the borders of Lebanon and Turkey. She has written of the experience: ” it was truly life altering. I witnessed first hand how these ‘tent city’ refugees are struggling to normalize their lives under difficult and barren circumstances.”

The Luminous Scope’s  Mission Statement is to Educate. Activate. Donate, in  other words, teach people about some aspect of the MENA (The Middle East and North Africa) region that doesn’t get very in depth mainstream coverage, encourage them to take action and become involved somehow, and then give back to the communities or people we are highlighting in some meaningful way.


In an effort to “inform and educate the pubic about this crisis, as well as offer practical ways in which they can help alleviate some of the daily and ongoing suffering, ” Macdonald has created a multi-media exhibit from her  time in the camps called “(DIS)PLACED. “Profits from the exhibit (sales. etc) will go straight back to the refugees themselves. She is also coordinating a ‘toy basket’ drive for the children specifically – who have no toys whatsoever to play with. The baskets will include basic games, jump ropes and soccer balls.

The exhibit will take place in October and donations can be made here….


This project has been fiscally sponsored by a registered non-profit so all donations will be fully tax deductible.


Here is a story below by the journalist Florence Massena, on whats going on in Syria  and how NGOs founded by women are doign a lot to face the crise.s
One of them, Basmeh wa (and)  Zeitooneh, helps Syrians find stability and dignity in sewing and embroidery.

Jennifer  met with Basmeh and Zeitooneh in Shatila (A Refugee Camp) and brought back a big shipment of their very beautiful wallets and scarves to sell at the aSHEville Museum where the The “DIS (Placed)  exhibit will take place.

Syrian women find independence in embroidery

Of the nearly 3 million Syrian refugees currently sheltered in Lebanon, 52.3% are women, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Coming alone or with their families, they are often subject to violence, but some have been able to find help from the many nongovernmental organizations in the country. One of them, Basmeh wa Zeitooneh, helps Syrians find stability and dignity in sewing and embroidery.

“Women are strong,” proclaims Rihab, a Palestinian Syrian who fled Yarmouk a year and a half ago with her family. “My husband doesn’t work. He only eats and sleeps all day.” Like the 60 other women assisted by Basmeh wa Zeitooneh, she became the breadwinner out of necessity. “Now, Syrian women bring money home. It’s harder for men.” UNHCR provides only $30 a month for each registered refugee in Lebanon, forcing families to scramble to find other sources of income
CLICK HERE to Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/lebanon-syria-refugees-women-work-ngos.html##ixzz3DmqnUWUV