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Annual Report 2023 - Veteranen voor Libanon Foundation

Introduction Spring 2024 has arrived and we look back on the year 2023. This year was characterized by many contrasts and challenges. Here is an overview of our activities and achievements over the past year.

Return trip April 2023 At the end of 2022, we started preparations for the return trip in April 2023. We discussed their personal travel goals with 21 participants and incorporated them into the travel planning. Among the participants were also the two winners of the VVL sponsor lottery 2022.

The preparations were intensive and complex. Permissions had to be requested from various agencies, including the UNIFIL Force Commander in Lebanon and the Lebanese Security Service. Two weeks before departure, however, we were confronted with cancelled flights at Transavia. We were faced with a choice: cancel the trip or stay two days longer in Lebanon. The group unanimously opted for the extension, despite the necessary organization. Thanks to our guide Georges Farah, everything went smoothly in the end. Transavia compensated all travelers for the extra accommodation costs, and many donated this amount to our foundation, which we greatly appreciate.

The trip itself was unforgettable and once again led to lasting friendships. One of the highlights was the visit to the party of the Dutch embassy to celebrate King's Day with the entire group of travellers.

Increased attention and new registrations Since the documentary 'The Forgotten Mission' by RTV Oost in 2022, a lot has changed. The attention for our trips and projects increased significantly, resulting in many new registrations for the return trips in October 2023. We planned two trips on October 13 and 20, but due to the events in Israel and Gaza on October 7, we had to cancel both trips. Transavia once again offered free rebookings. We hoped to reschedule the trips in April 2024.

Sending relief supplies to Lebanon Sending relief supplies remained an important part of our activities. Together with Containers of Love, we have sent 35 containers until the summer. The 36th container left at the end of September, despite the changing situation in the Middle East. In this container we transported, among other things, school supplies, whiteboards, laptops and other computer hardware, medical materials and also the many backpacks from the 'Let a Child Laugh' campaign.

Due to the deteriorating economic situation, Lebanon increased import tariffs, including on relief supplies, in the spring of 2023. To cover the extra costs for the recipients, we started a GoFundMe. Thanks to the support of many Unifillers, we were able to get the container quickly through the port of Beirut at the beginning of November and distribute the goods smoothly.

In October, various publications were published about the cancellation of our return trips, including an article in the Stentor and TV items on Een Vandaag and WNL. This led to a new contact with documentary filmmaker Playback Images, waarmee we werkten aan een documentary about UNIFIL for Dutch television. However topical it may be, the documentary entitled 'In the Service of Peace' will unfortunately not be televised in 2023. Together with Playback Images, we therefore started a crowdfunding campaign to get the documentary in cinemas nationwide in 2024. Thanks in particular to the support of the Vfonds and various donors, we succeed in this and the premiere can take place in Deventer in March 2024.

Looking ahead to 2024 2023 was a year full of events, both planned and unexpected. We remain committed to our goals and hope to support even more projects in 2024 with your support. We continue to invest in the development of return travel and hope to accompany many veterans and their families once it is safe to return to Lebanon.

We are looking forward to 2024 with a lot of energy and we will continue to try to make a difference, such as with the backpack campaign and the various school projects, which resulted in many happy children. That's why we do it!

Thank you for your continued support.

On behalf of the Board of Veterans for Lebanon

Financial report 2023
Financial report 2023

On March 23, 2023, after much effort from the board and help from the bank, the bank account of the VVL foundation was opened. In the period before that, we have had a lot of help and support from the OVA Foundation, for which we are very grateful. The item 'costs' now also includes bank charges as well as, also for the first time, management costs. For the purpose of our visibility, which is also necessary for collecting funds, promotional material has been purchased. So now we can be seen and addressed at events and meetings on Facebook and our website. The positive attention for our activities and the documentary that RTV Oost has made of one of our veterans' trips is also reflected in the donations received. On behalf of the participants, the VVL foundation has asked Transavia for a fee for the rescheduling of the return flight of one of the veterans' trips. Most of the participants have donated reimbursement for the costs incurred to the VVL Foundation. The 'Make a child laugh' campaign and give a filled school backpack! has been a success on many fronts. Of course many happy children and school leaders, but also the VVL foundation is very pleased with all the help from donors for filling the backpacks and the sponsor for the purchase of the backpacks. In October 2023, a go-fund-me campaign was launched for the VVL foundation to deal with the rising costs of container shipping. The reactions and contributions (including those of the Irish UNIFIL Association) have pleasantly surprised us.

The board members of VVL and related and special volunteers have invested their time free of charge and have also paid for their trips from their own resources and made contributions to make all actions a success. The return trips of veterans that were organized by the foundation (see the website) are fully paid for by the veterans themselves.

Budget 2024
Budget 2024

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