Our special thanks to these friends, who helped us this year:
Our work in 2017
(tablets and smartphones: best viewed in landscape mode)
2017 was a very productive year for Lebanon Trust. Thanks to your generosity, not only did we help the school for deaf children we have been supporting for ten years now, and the two refugee kindergarten we always help, but also we visited and donated to an institute for street, orphaned or abused children. We also met with a school for deaf teenagers – which prepares them for university – and a Lebanese non-governmental organisation that works with Syrian refugees and poor Lebanese.
The two weeks we spent in Lebanon in November were very intense. We stayed at the deaf children’s school that we support, the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID).
We donated them 8000 dollars to help financing speech therapy, which teaches deaf children how to speak and lip-read. this gives them an unique opportunity to communicate with the outside world and, in time, become independent.
We had a very generous sponsor, Tiziana Virgilio from Genoa (Italy), who financed the complete renovation of FAID’s kindergarten playground. We made a new reinforced-concrete floor, covered it with 400 rubber safety tiles, installed a new perimeter fence, fixed the existing toys, bought new ones, painted and decorated gates, walls and handrails. Also, we pruned a tree and removed a large wild overgrowth that blocked the light. We also fixed and painted the adjacent “mock shop”, utilised to teach children grocery-shopping.
The children and the teachers were absolutely delighted. At the end of all this work we had an opening ceremony with ribbon-cutting, sweets and soap bubbles. Every volunteer received a beautiful present from FAID. The new playground was dedicated to the memory of a friend, Francesco Lo Torto, with a plaque on the wall.
Besides all this, a generous Irish sponsor, GK Nets of Howth, donated a marvellous net (80 metres by 4 metres!) for the new football area used by the older kids. We brought it all the way from Ireland to Lebanon for free, thanks to British Airway’s generosity!
One of the children is Amir, a deaf Syrian refugee who has no family. During the week he stays at FAID, and spends the weekends at the Home of Hope. The Home of Home provides housing, accommodation, meals, clothes, education and care to children who have no parents or have been abandoned or abused. We went to visit it on a Friday evening: Amir was absolutely delighted to see us there, and kept trying to tell the other children that we were his friends and were there to see him. We were welcomed by Rachida and Brady, who run the institution together with other staff and volunteers. We were impressed by their dedication and their work. A few days later we realised that we still had a bit of money, so we went shopping with Brady and bought 100 pairs of shoes (“crocs”-like) and much underwear for the children, for a total of 350 dollars. We also donated some footballs from a generous sponsor in Ireland. The kids were overjoyed. They have very little.
In Lebanon there are literally millions of refugees, both long-term ones from the wars in 1948 and 1967 (between 500’000 and 600’00 of them), and an estimated 1.5 million more recent arrivals from the war in Syria. We went to visit the kindergartens of two refugee camps, run by our partner Association Najdeh, one in Beirut and one in Tyre, in the south of Lebanon. These two kindergartens are cheerful and spotless, despite the surrounding dire conditions. The staff are fantastic, motivated and resourceful, and make the most of the little they have. The children are delightful, and – at age 3 to 5 – learn Arabic and English. We donated 2000 dollars to each kindergaten.
One evening we went to visit The Learning Center for the Deaf (LCD), founded and run by Hussein, son of the late Father Andeweg who created FAID, and his wife Nadine. LCD runs an early-intervention centre, for deaf babies and their parents, a nursery school and the preparatory three-year schooling for university. Its services are complementary to FAID. It is very well organised and superbly run. Congratulations to the two visionary founders.
One day we went to the Beqaa valley, which borders Syria, to meet with LADC-Salam, a Lebanese non-governmental organisation. Its aim is to provide flexible, effective and non-bureaucratic assistance, which fills the gaps where refugees and local communities do not receive sufficient support, in light of the overwhelming need created by the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. They run many important project and a community centre with after-school for children and courses for adults. Many Syrian refugee children do not attend school. A bus fitted as a “mobile school” reaches children in the refugee settlements and brings them up to speed so that they can enrol in the public school system. We met the founders Joseph and Martin, and the medical coordinator Laran. They also have many young volunteers who spends weeks or months helping out the various projects – people from all over the world, driven by the same idea. Meeting them was very inspiring, and we hope that one day we can collaborate.
We would like to thank all Marina’s friends in Arquata Scrivia (Italy, who contributed generously towards our charitable projects in Lebanon. Your altruism allowed us to do much good work and donate money to very worthy causes in Lebanon, all related to disadvantaged children: deaf kids, refugees, street children and orphans. All these stories and pictures are on this blog.
Thank you Arquata!
Christy Kinsella, together with all the volunteers of Lebanon Trust and the Institutions that Lebanon Trust supports, would like to express his deepest gratitude to everyone at the St. Peregrines GAA club in Blanchardstown for their ongoing support and their superb cake-baking. Thank you friends!
We are deeply grateful to all the friends who, year after year, have been actively and tirelessly helping Lebanon Trust in succeeding in its charitable projects. In particular, we are indebted to
(in alphabetical order) Amanda Davis, David Keane, Elaine Curley, David Tryse, Jayne Delahunt, Julie Weber, Louise Hanlon, Mick Halpin, Stephanie Derwojed, Wolfram Rausch from Symantec Corporation in Dublin
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Symantec Foundation, a corporate advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Jung Y. Yang and Stephen King of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Paul Velaski, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Jaime Barclay, Symantec Corporation
Lebanon Trust would like to thank heartfeltly Kieran Mc Loughlin of G.K. Nets, who provided a marvellous net (80 metres by 4 metres!) for the children of FAID, the school for deaf children we have been supporting for ten years now. The net will be the cherry on the cake for the new football area in front of the classrooms that are being built now. Thank you Kieran and G.K. Nets for your continued support over the years!
During our recent stay in Lebanon, we paid a visit to The Learning Center for the Deaf, welcomed by the truly visionary founders Hussein and Nadine. Hussein is the late Father Andeweg’s son. (Father Andeweg was the founder of FAID, the school we have been supporting for 10 years now). The Learning Center for the Deaf is complementary to FAID – it runs an early-intervention programme for deaf babies and their families, and the three years of preparatory schooling for those who wish to attend university.
Splendidly-run school, Father Andeweg must be proud!
Also this year we went to the Association Najdeh‘s kindergarten in the refugee camp of Burj el-Shemali in Tyre, south Lebanon.
The kids are delightful and learn Arabic and English. The teachers and their coordinator are bright and really dedicated. They all make the most of a difficult situation. This is a fantastic place to see. On behalf of our donors and supporters, we left a donation of 2000 dollars. Thank you all!
The kids pay attention during an Arabic class
and learn geometry in Arabic and English, at age 4:
this old minubus takes them home
a view of the refugee camp, and some Lebanon Trust volunteers enjoying a meal on the street
the beautiful fishing port of the old city of Tyre
Home of Hope welcomes ~55 street or orphaned children, feeds and clothes them, and gives them a home and an education. Raghida and Brady, director and education director respectively, explained to us how they operate and gave a us a tour of the house. We were impressed. On behalf of our donors and according to Home of Hope’s wish list, we bought 100 pairs of Crocs in many different sizes and socks and underwear. O’Neills Sportswear from Ireland donated footballs, to the delight of the children.
Thank you friends!
Shoes, underwear, footballls donated on behalf of our generous supporters
Beirut’s Armenian quarter, where we went shopping with Home of Hope’s Brady
100 pairs of shoes filled our car’s booth and the back seat
A brand new playground for FAID‘s youngest children! This year we re-worked the kindergarten’s playground from scratch. There were 400 thick rubber tiles (50×50 cm, and quite heavy!) to remove and clean by hand; a new smooth, 10-cm thick, reinforced-concrete floor to make; the same 400 rubber tiles to put back & glue properly; an old & rusty iron and barbed-wire fence to remove and a new chain-link fence to install; a tree to prune and a wild overgrowth to remove; existing toys to clean and fix and new toys to buy and mount; benches, hand-rails and the gate to paint. We did it all, thanks to all our generous friends and supporters, and in particular Tiziana Virgilio. Thank you very much!
The new playground was dedicated to the memory of a friend, Francesco Lo Torto.
Like every year, we went to the refugee camp of Chatila, in the heart of Beirut, where about 25’000 people – long-term residents and more recent arrivals from Syria alike – live in dire conditions. We visited our friends at the immaculate kindergarten run by the Association Najdeh, where Mariam the supervisor, the teachers and all the children welcomed us with open arms, songs and cheers. On behalf of our donors and supporters, we donated 2000 dolllars.
We are back home after a very intense, very successful two-week trip to Lebanon. We worked at FAID, the school for the deaf we have been helping for ten years now, we visited and donated to two refugee kindergartens, and bought 100 pairs of shoes and assorted underwear for street children. We also met many associations and schools doing great work for children and refugees. More news to follow!
In early November we will leave for Lebanon once again, for our annual support trip to FAID, the school for deaf children in Beirut that we support since 2008, and to two kindergartens for refugee children in Beorut and Tyre (south Lebanon).
We have many projects to complete and a lot of work to do. All support more than welcome!
Marina’s friends in Arquata Scrivia have demonstrated their extraordinary generosity: more than EUR 900 have been raised for the children of the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf in Beirut, at Marina’s birthday party on Saturday August 26.
A huge THANK YOU to Marina and all her friends in Arquata Scrivia!