Tag Archives: Lebanon

Aiming to Prepare Deaf Children for the World

The Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf, or FAID, is one of the few schools in Lebanon that provide an education to hearing-impaired children. A long-time Children Incorporated affiliated project, FAID supports about 100 students every day, many of them refugee children from neighboring countries – primarily Syria.

FAID’s mission:

 To act as a caring institute for the deaf and hard of hearing, which reflects a healthy balance of academic goals and building self-esteem, self-awareness, and life skills.

During a trip to Beirut, Lebanon, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited FAID and met with our Volunteer Coordinator Ms. Shawish. She explained to Luis that the most challenging aspect of her job is that the school receives less and less support from the Lebanese government each year. Yet every year, the need to help more and more children continues to increase. Currently, the school’s funding comes from various local and foreign partners, including Children Incorporated. Our sponsors help to support over sixty students at FAID alone.

A history of FAID 

FAID was founded in 1957 by Anglican clergyman Reverend Dr. Arie J. Andeweg. Reverend Dr. Andeweg, known as “the father of deaf people in Lebanon,” first started his work in 1956 by meeting with deaf adults at local coffee houses in Beirut. He was soon able to communicate with them and decided to establish a club for the deaf so that they could meet on a regular basis. In 1957, with younger deaf children in mind, he founded FAID. Today, FAID is one of the most prominent education centers for the deaf in the Middle East. 

 A leading comprehensive center

Sponsor a child in Lebanon to change their life for the better

Many deaf and hearing-impaired students at FAID could still use the help of a caring sponsor.

FAID provides an education to children from preschool to high school, ages three through eighteen. There, they learn to develop language to support memory and learning, achieve their academic and vocational potential, develop tools for safety and confidence in the modern world, create happy memories of their childhood and lasting friendships, and have a place to be healthy and resilient both physically and emotionally.

While in attendance at the school, students learn the Lebanese national curriculum and sign language. They are provided with much-needed audiology services, including supplies of hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, and ear molds; hearing tests; and hearing aid maintenance. The children also attend speech therapy sessions twice a week; auditory training with methodologies for listening and learning to hear; and they receive psychological and emotional support.

Enabling kids to reach their full potential

While they were meeting, Ms. Shawish explained to Luis that the aim of FAID is for every child and young person that attends to develop into the best possible version of themselves. She stated that the earlier hearing loss occurs in a child’s life, the more serious the effects can be on the child’s development. Similarly, the earlier a problem is identified and intervention begins, the less serious the ultimate impact is likely to be. 

While in attendance at the school, students learn the Lebanese national curriculum and sign language. They are provided with much-needed audiology services, including supplies of hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, and ear molds; hearing tests; and hearing aid maintenance.

As they toured the school and met with some of our sponsored children, Ms. Shawish told Luis that because of the special circumstances that the children are in — especially the older refugee children who attend the school — FAID has created group classes to meet the needs of the students who had never been to a specialized school.

The school also offers a theater class. Ms. Shawish feels that drama is an important tool for preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team-oriented rather than hierarchical. Drama classes also help students develop tolerance and empathy.

Looking towards the future

Although having enough funding to provide for all the needs of the children is an issue, Ms. Shawish is confident that the school will continue to grow and add new programs. She talked with Luis about how FAID is piloting an outreach program among the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and the Lebanese community in order to raise awareness regarding deafness and the importance of education for those affected. Ms. Shawish is also hopeful that she will find a means to offer assistance to students who want to continue on to universities or technical schools once they graduate.

Before Luis left, Ms. Shawish assured him that without Children Incorporated’s support, the school, which is incredibly valuable to so many children, would not survive. She also mentioned that there are many deaf and hearing-impaired students at the school who could still use the help of a caring sponsor to ensure that they are equipped to fully participate in the world around them.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Lebanon who is available for sponsorship.

Visiting Lebanon and South Korea

After many years of not being able to visit Lebanon and South Korea, where we support hundreds of children through our sponsorship program, our International Programs Director, Luis Bourdet, was finally able to visit both countries at the end of last year.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories about Luis’ visits to our projects in Lebanon and South Korea.

“In recent years, great turmoil and many political issues have created instability in countries neighboring Lebanon and South Korea. As a result, previous plans to visit the two countries have had to be postponed,” said Luis.

“Thankfully, last year it became safe enough for me to travel to both countries to see first-hand the positive effects that our sponsors are having on impoverished children.”

Our affiliated projects

sponsor a child in lebanon

In Lebanon, Children Incorporated is affiliated with three projects.

In Lebanon, Children Incorporated is affiliated with three projects: The Armenian Evangelical Schools (AES) and the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID), both located in the country’s capital, Beirut; and the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School in the small city of Anjar.

We have a large number of projects in South Korea – eighteen in total, all of which are homes for orphaned children. Our affiliated sites are located all over South Korea, including in the cities of Seoul, Busan, Iksan, Daegu, and Gwangju. Thanks to the help of our Korean Volunteer Coordinator, Ms. Soung Ok Cho, who oversees all of our projects in the country, we are able to work with so many homes.

“Since most of the homes are located in cities with large populations of more than 1.6 million people, and they are far away from one another, it would be truly difficult to coordinate and visit sites on a regular basis without the help of Ms. Cho,” Luis stated.

A Brief history of Lebanon

Located in Western Asia, Lebanon borders with Syria to the north and east, and with Israel to the south. Cyprus is west of it, across the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the country’s location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland, Lebanon has a rich history and cultural identity evincing the influence of such illustrious civilizations as the Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman Turk, and French.

However, Lebanon’s wealth of diversity has also contributed to its turbulent history. Lebanon continues to suffer the repercussions of a history riddled with wars – both civil and international. Unemployment, underemployment, and the ever-present threat of war are tragic realities there. These are, perhaps, most pronounced in Beirut. Settled over 5,000 years ago, this historic city is Lebanon’s largest and primary seaport, but it is also afflicted with dire poverty and its subsequent socioeconomic effects.

About South Korea

Comprising the lower half of a mountainous peninsula in East Asia, this populous nation, with a population density ten times higher than the global average, is today renowned for its future-oriented advancements in technology.

Although it emerged as an autonomous country in the aftermath of World War II, more than half a century after the Korean Armistice Agreement, South Korea is still haunted by the ghosts of its turbulent past. The Korean War, from 1950 to 1953, devastated South Korea, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives – both military and civilian – and leaving thousands of children orphaned. As a result, a number of orphanages were constructed – orphanages that now house children enrolled in our sponsorship program, ensuring that they have the resources they need to go to school.

More stories to come

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories about Luis’ visits to our projects in Lebanon and South Korea. Seeing these two diverse countries through his eyes, we hope you will catch a glimpse of how – thanks to our affiliated projects, volunteer coordinators, sponsors, and donors – we are able to make a huge a difference in the lives of children in need.

“Children Incorporated support is essential in these countries for the purchase of clothing, food, and shoes, so that children living in poverty can attend school,” said Luis.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON OR SOUTH KOREA?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon or South Korea in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.orgor go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Lebanon or South Korea that is available for sponsorship.

Serving a Marginalized Population in Lebanon

The town of Anjar, where our affiliated project the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School is located, is home to a large population of Armenian settlers. Fleeing persecution in Turkey after the Turkish-Armenian War in the 1930s, Armenians found refuge in Anjar.

In order to obtain an education that will yield them the opportunity to attend a technical school or university after graduating, students must attend private schools, such as the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School.

Later, in the 1960s, a Lebanese-Armenian businessman by the name of Stephen Philibosian supported the establishment of the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School to serve those young people in the community who continued to face adversity as children of refugee families.

Our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the school to meet with our Volunteer Coordinator Reverend Akbasharian, who discussed with Luis the importance of our program in ensuring that Armenian children are able to attend this prestigious private school.

About Anjar

Recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, Anjar is located near the Syrian border in the fertile Beqaa Valley, where much of the nation’s vegetables, grains, and wine grapes are produced.

Sponsor a child in Lebanon.

Currently, about ten percent of children in Lebanon do not attend school.

An extensive portion of Anjar’s population is comprised of Armenian agricultural laborers who earn very little money. For this reason, the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School plays a crucial role in ensuring that children from poor Armenian families are able to receive an education.

Poverty in Lebanon  

In modern-day Lebanon, considerable poverty exists, mostly due to recent conflicts in the country. Almost thirty percent of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line, which means that children often do not have basic needs or the opportunity to attend school.

Without funds for books, school supplies, or tuition, children do not have the resources they require to go to school, and therefore have no choice but to start working before they reach legal working age. Nearly seven percent of children in Lebanon are forced to work to help their families financially.

Currently, about ten percent of children in Lebanon do not attend school. For those that do, the quality of public education is poor, and the school buildings in which classes are held are in terrible condition.

The Armenian Evangelical Secondary School plays a crucial role in ensuring that children from poor Armenian families are able to receive an education.

In order to obtain an education that will yield them the opportunity to attend a technical school or university after graduating, students must attend private schools, such as the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School. There, teachers are better trained, and the school has higher-quality resources and tools. Unfortunately, however, many families, like those in Anjar, cannot afford to send their children to such schools.

Helping kids in need

During Luis’ visit, Reverend Akbasharian expressed his gratitude for Children Incorporated’s partnership with the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School, where we currently serve many children through our sponsorship program. Because of support from our caring sponsors, Armenian boys and girls of this impoverished and marginalized population are provided with tuition money, food, clothing, and school supplies on a regular basis.

Reverend Akbasharian and Luis agreed that increasing the number of sponsorships at the school would be very beneficial. They both would like to see even more children, who would otherwise have to attend inadequate public schools, get a high-quality education and have the chance to rise above poverty when they reach adulthood.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Lebanon that is available for sponsorship.

The Toll of Political Turmoil on Children

Lebanon’s political climate has long been riddled with conflict, which is often further stirred by external factors. Thankfully, however, our affiliated projects the Armenian Evangelical Schools (AES), a group of affordable private schools, offer a well-rounded education to children living in poverty and suffering from political turmoil.

Compared to public schools in Lebanon, however, the AES offer a much higher quality education. Children are provided with more educational tools and resources than the alternative public schools.

Children Incorporated’s partnership with the AES spans decades. Over the years, we have been able to support thousands of children through our sponsorship program.

About Lebanon

Lebanon is located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Israel to the south and Syria to the east and north. This country of six million people acknowledges eighteen religious groups, the largest being the Shiites and Sunnites; there is also a large Christian population in the country.

Up to the end of World War I, Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1920, the League of Nations issued France a mandate over Syria and Lebanon. 23 years later, Lebanon gained its independence.

Current-day conflict

Since 2006, Lebanon has been politically divided into two almost equally-strong camps, whose conflict has prevented the political institutions in the country from functioning. The internal struggle between the two groups is mostly based on social and economic clashes of interest, linked with religious differences.

Sponsor a child in Lebanon to change their life.

Most of the children supported by the AES are Armenians, but some are Arabs.

Other factors also play a huge role in the strife that exists in Lebanon. Internal disagreements over the conflict in neighboring Syria play a part, as well as foreign countries’ involvement and interests in the Syrian War. Both internal and external arguments on how to handle the crisis in Syria only worsen the current situation in Lebanon. Today, more than a million Syrian refugees have been registered in the country.

Although Lebanon has been rebuilding itself steadily, the well-being of children has largely been undermined by these geopolitical circumstances. The country still has a long way to go before reaching an ideal situation, where the protection of children’s rights is taken into full consideration.

The AES IN ANJAR and Beirut

The AES were established in 1964 by the late Stephen Philibosian, a successful Lebanese-American businessman. The AES run five schools in Beirut and one in the city of Anjar, near Lebanon’s border with Syria. Our donors support children in three of these schools – two in Beirut and one in Anjar. Sponsors provide children with aid to cover monthly school fees. Funds donated also go towards purchasing clothes and shoes, as well as school supplies.

Most of the children supported by the AES are Armenians, but some are Arabs. All have been affected by the political and economic turmoil of Lebanon and its neighboring countries. The children come from families that work in low-paying or minimum wage jobs.

Support from Children Incorporated provides is truly valuable, and we would love to see more students at the AES enrolled in our program. Currently, our sponsorship program supports only ten percent of the total student body.

The AES are all private schools, so monthly fees are required for attendance. Compared to public schools in Lebanon, however, the AES offer a much higher quality education. Children are provided with more educational tools and resources than the alternative public schools. Public schools are also overcrowded; so parents in Lebanon do whatever it takes to send their children to the AES, which have a higher academic standard.

Visiting the schools

While visiting two AES schools in Beirut, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, noticed that since his last visit many years ago, the schools have improved greatly.

“The infrastructure has been updated, and new and more efficient educational programs have been established to improve opportunities for the children,” he said.

Sponsor a child in Lebanon today.

Students within the AES are required to study Armenian, Arabic, English, and French.

During Luis’ last visit there more than five years ago, the AES were divided into elementary, middle, and high schools. This meant that children were moving to different buildings as they moved up in school. Now, all of the AES offer classes up to high school level in the same building. This keeps students in the same location for a longer time, providing them with more stability, and improving their academic experience.

According to Luis, students within the AES are required to study Armenian, Arabic, English, and French, along with the core educational subjects required by the local government.

“Before, English was not a core course; but it is emphasized now, as the international importance of the language has increased in Lebanon. So students are able to communicate in the English language now,” Luis stated.

“It was great to see many of the students practicing their English skills, asking questions about the United States, and our programs in general.”

On to higher education

Luis also noticed that overall academic core courses at the AES have improved. The labs are better equipped, and teachers are better trained. These improvements prepare students more effectively for higher education, which most students aim to achieve – and they succeed. The AES have a graduation and higher education enrollment rate higher than ninety percent, which is very high for Lebanon in general.

Support from Children Incorporated provides is truly valuable, and we would love to see more students at the AES enrolled in our program. Currently, our sponsorship program supports only ten percent of the total student body. Luis knows that many more of the children at AES could use the help of supportive sponsors.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Lebanon that is available for sponsorship.

Helping Children in Lebanon Hear

Children Incorporated works in collaboration with the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf in Riad El Solh Beirut, Lebanon. Among the students who attend this school are many Syrian child refugees who have been hearing-impaired since birth. Not only have their families had to face the enormous challenge of adequately accommodating the special needs of a deaf child, but they have also had no choic10e but to flee their home country in search of safety.

These refugee households are particularly lacking, as without any support from the Lebanese government because of their immigration status, it is incredibly difficult for them to supply their children with the equipment, care, and nutrition they require in order to get an education. More and more child refugees continue to be enrolled in the Children Incorporated program at the school, so your support is very desperately needed.

Through our association with the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf and the generosity of our sponsors and donors, provisions have been made so that many youngsters are already receiving medical and psychological care, food, speech therapy lessons, and clothing. The need continues to be great for so many others, however – who, if sponsored, would experience a dramatic positive change in their lives.

You may also contribute to supply the thirteen children currently without hearing aids with the equipment they require in order to have the opportunity to grow academically and emotionally. Without your help, the od9ds against them will continue to be stunting, and they will miss a chance to overcome what at present appear to them to be insurmountable obstacles.

Powerful hearing aids alone cost between $400 and $600 each, and they are essential for a deaf child to have – especially in school. Hearing today will give these kids the promise of a brighter, more vibrant tomorrow – a tomorrow in which they have the potential to succeed, even as refugees.
Additionally, the school requires a generator, equipment for the science lab and for making ear molds, materials for the speech and language departments, and school supplies. The estimated cost of fulfilling all of these needs exceeds $15,000.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon in one of three ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org, or go online to our donation portal, create and account, and search for a child in India that is available for sponsorship.