- April 29, 2021
Lebanon has fallen victim to several crises during the last two years, resulting in irreparable damages that affected the lives of Lebanese and non-Lebanese on all levels. With the situation becoming increasingly difficult, CDLL needed to intervene quickly. Among the multiple crises we witnessed these last years, one cannot dismiss the COVID-19 pandemic – as it altered the work of a number of NGOs across the country. Fortunately, CDLL did not stop any of its programs, on the contrary, it took the needed measures to ensure the safety of its beneficiaries and staff, and even shifted all active programs and activities to online methods (implementing precaution measures during face to face interventions). Then came Beirut blast, topping an unprecedented economic crisis. CDLL did not hesitate to respond to the emergency and distributed health, hygiene and baby kits to more than 850 beneficiaries directly affected.
CDLL also used its resources abroad, and gathered efforts from the Lebanese diaspora, their partners and donors. CDLL was able to launch ‘Youth Cap’, a center in Mar Mikhael-Beirut offering free of charge primary healthcare to families. To date, CDLL is able to offer free medical and psychological services to more than 200 very vulnerable and affected individuals and to build the resilience of 1,500 students and caregivers in Beirut’s damaged schools through life skills sessions. In response to Beirut blast, CDLL focused on mental health by not only supporting the resilience of children and their parents, but also by offering Psychological First Aid (PFA) training to 130 volunteers and NGO staff, especially those on the front lines. CDLL also launched a series of webinars reaching 923 individuals to date, and raised awareness about mental health and the importance of social support to heal together as a community.
One of the biggest lessons learned during these difficult times is the importance of the community and the civil society, and the importance of uniting the efforts and collaborations between NGOs to complement our support to the most vulnerable people in Beirut. Through this collaboration, we realized that so many vulnerable people are disconnected from their families, and do not have access to the main services. Moving from this reality, we initiated a massive door-to-door outreach in Beirut starting in the region of Ashrafieh and the most affected areas.
Quoting one of our volunteers from our distribution operation:
“I have felt more than ever the need of hope in the faces and expressions of Beirut citizens, people are definitely in need of the services we are offering but most
importantly they were happy that we were there, walking in their streets, checking up on them, entering to their houses and reassuring them that we are here to support, we are here to help them overcome these crises, they were praying for us as we walked down the streets and saying goodbye.”
Our beneficiaries and the people we help have touched us as well. A woman who lives in very harsh conditions still while we were explaining about our services. She was silent and observing without saying a word. As she saw us leaving she grabbed my hand to say, “[…] you are the future of Lebanon! I thank God that there are still young people like you with such Golden hearts”.
Our responses and support cannot stop and are now needed more than ever.
South of Global Health is a blog of the Global Health Institute at the American University of Beirut which tackles the Global South’s most pressing health issues across multiple intersectional themes. The blog intends to serve as an outlet for health-related issues affecting and originating from the most vulnerable regions of the developing world.
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