Father Robert Institute for the Deaf and Mute
The first visit to the Father Robert Institute for the Deaf and Mute in Sehaile was made almost a year ago on January 24! Father Robert first came to Lebanon as a chaplain in the British army in 1942. Realizing the lack of help for the deaf and mute, he returned in 1959 and seven years later founded the charitable institution that bears his name. The institute has since been run by Sister Patricia. 120 children, from 6 months to young adult, board at the school during the week and go home for the weekend. Most, if not all, are from very poor families. The focus is on early education, specialized education and training, and professional job training for the deaf and mute children. There are teachers in both English and French. Many of the teachers were former students. At present boarding at the school is no longer possible due to COVID-19. A number of children come in for treatment and there is an attempt at remote learning.
COVID-19, subsequent numerous lockdowns, and the financial crisis affecting all NGOs delayed an AWC donation. But finally the Caring Committee was able to help with Sister Patricia’s request for a much needed heater. With an approved Lebanese lira budget from the board and a generous donation of fresh dollars from the states, the heater was delivered on Friday, December 18. Just in time for the winter cold. Mr. Merhi from Merhi Stoves was generous in that he accepted the remaining dollar amount needed to pay for the heater to be in Lebanese lira considerably below the black market rate thus thus saving money for the remaining Lebanese donated to the school to pay for food supplies for the children
In Memory of AWC Members Who Have Passed
On Tuesday, December 15, Jill Achkar, Connie Hadba, and Sherry Makdashi made the trip to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve to finalize the adoption and payment of the 3 cedar trees in memory of long time members Betty Sabieh, Karen Labban, and Elizabeth Yared. After meeting up with Rawad, the young man in charge of driving us to the location, squeezing into the cab of his truck and a rather bumpy ride , seeing the 3 baby cedars adopted was confirmation of carrying on this wonderful AWC tradition.
An AWC trip to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve will be planned in the Spring when the weather is warmer
Blankets for Beirut
It took a while, but the Blankets for Beirut project has been accomplished! The fresh dollar donation from the states paid for exactly 56 standard size blankets. 4 more were donated by a member and 3 from the wholesaler for a total of 63! The blankets were donated to "We Stand Together", an initiative founded after the port blast by Abed Hatahet, a project manager for Arcenciel. Mr. Hatahet has developed a data base of the needs of NGOs. It provides a link between donors and the needs of beneficiaries. The AWC will be provided with a confidential list of the families who receive the blankets as is the policy for donations. They were picked up on December 16. With the winter cold fast approaching, it’s great to know the blankets will help keep families warm
Ayadina’s Soup Kitchen
"Cooked & Served from our hearts with your generous donation to Ayadina Association”
Ayadina is an NGO the AWC Caring Committee has had a long relationship with beginning in 2005. Now in 2019-2020 as the economic situation in Lebanon continued to worsen and Covid 19 to spread, it became apparent at Ayadina that the members of the Senior Citizens’ Club who could no longer socialize on the premises would need extra care. Ayadina decided to open a Soup Kitchen in April to meet this need. Now every Thursday about 70 seniors are offered a takeaway hot meal along with a salad and dessert. Some of them live with other family members who also rely on these takeaway meals to survive. Keeping the soup kitchen open continues to be a challenge financially. In keeping with the AWC’s long relationship with Ayadina, the Caring Committee made a donation in November to support the Soup Kitchen for 2 Thursdays.
The second half of this donation went to prepare a meal for Eid el Barbara on December 8. Grace, the cook at Ayadina, said that our donation allowed more protein to be added to the meal. Also that she was able to stock up on some still good but soon to be expired food items offered at a reduced cost. On December 22 the Soup Kitchen prepared a takeaway Christmas meal. AWC members who attended the Coffeelicious Christmas Cookie Exchange baked an extra dozen to be donated as the dessert. The cookies were most appreciated. A big thank you to all members who joined in the Christmas spirit of giving!
Avance School for Epilepsy and Special Needs
Christiane Haddad and Sherry Mikadisha visited the Avance School for Epilepsy and Special Needs on November 10. We were pleased to know that the damage caused to the school by the Port blast had been repaired with the help of the Lions Club. The founder of the school, Arlett Honein, continues to struggle financially though but is determined to keep the school open. At present, the students attend in two shifts with only 6 students in each classroom. AWC was able to help with our donation to purchase much needed supplies for the children such as cloth masks, face shields, sanitizer, construction paper, crayons, pens, and notebooks to name some. The pictures here illustrate our donation. In addition to our donation, we put Arlette in touch with the vice president of Beytna Beytak, an NGO we donated to, who passed on the additional needs of the school to other NGOs in her network. Hopefully she will receive additional help
The AWC Heart Pillow Project
The heart pillow project in partnership with the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation continues to bring comfort to women who have had a mastectomy. In early August, 30 heart pillows were delivered to Zeinab in the LBCF office at AUH. Once again she expressed what a comfort they are to mastectomy patients.
Thanks to the sewing skills of Material Girls group, there is a large supply of pillows just waiting to be stuffed and sewn closed! Once we can hopefully have our monthly general meetings, pillow stuffing will be on the agenda
On October 9th, our treasurer May Safi met up with Dr. Jackie Kassouf at the DiaLeb office to present her with our donation for the purchase of diabetes medication. She has since reported that our donation will help twelve people for two months.
Below is the acknowledgement of our donation.
The AWC Caring Committee has been working to contribute to the relief effort after the Beirut port blast on August 4, 2020. Below are two modest, but heartfelt initiatives that we have completed to help those in need. Check back often - we plan to do more!!
** note picture is of 2 top stovetops - we purchased 3 tops
THE STOVETOP CONTRIBUTION
The AWC board agreed in late August to purchase of 10 - 3 top stovetops requested by Baytna Baytak (My House is Your House). On September 4, a young man from STREET, an initiative associated with Baytna Baytak, collected the 10 stovetops for distribution to families in Katantina, a poor area hit hard by the blast. Below is just a part of the acknowledgement of our donation: