Anita Van Dyke speaks during a conference in Kfar Zabad, Monday, April 7, 2014. (The Daily Star/HO)
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Ghiwa, a young Lebanese resident of Kfar Zabad, says she's tired of the sniggers and whistles she hears from Syrian refugees as she walks through her town.A new community center in Kfar Zabad, however, is trying to mend relations between young Syrians and Lebanese in the area by fostering dialogue between the two communities.Since 2011, more than 5,500 Syrian refugees have settled in the small agricultural town.For Ghiwa, however, cultural differences between the two populations are the biggest point of friction in Kfar Zabad.Bahaa said he was most frustrated by the feeling that Lebanese tend to assume that Syrians were unsophisticated."Initially, we will be focusing on peace-building, reconciliation and conflict sensitivity," said Leon Chammah, an operations director at World Vision.The project is indicative of the aid agencies' general shift away from just immediate life-saving aid toward including longer-term projects aimed at helping Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities reconcile their differences, Delhas-Van Dyke said. For now, young people living in and around Kfar Zabad say the shared space will serve the community as a petri dish for cultural and interpersonal mingling.
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