A multiple crisis
As early as spring 2020, SOLIDARITY-LIBANON-SWITZERLAND began to set up a branch with emergency humanitarian aid alongside its ongoing programme of education support. With this initiative, we wanted to help particularly poor families hit hard by the crisis – with food parcels and cash contributions.
We paid special attention to impoverished families with chronically ill family members who could no longer buy medicines due to rising prices.
After the massive explosion that devastated Beirut’s port and neighbouring neighbourhoods on 4th of August, we participated with local associations and volunteers in setting up a soup kitchen for the homeless. This soup kitchen is still functioning every day.
Our humanitarian aid in numbers
- 500 families have received food parcels or financial support.
- 240 destitute chronically ill people have received help in the form of essential medicines.
- More than 11,000 hot meals have been distributed to people in need in Beirut’s port district.
Financial support for school children from disadvantaged families
The school system has been particularly hard hit by the crisis. The pandemic and the state bankruptcy are causing thousands of children and young people to lose their chance to receive an adequate education.
SOLIDARITY-LIBANON-SWITZERLAND has therefore significantly expanded its support for pupils from disadvantaged families in autumn 2020. Thanks to the generous support of our members and friends, we were able to help ten times more school children than in the previous year! We were able to pay 50 per cent of the school fees of 298 children at six Catholic schools. Despite the crisis, these schools did their best to keep learning going!
And what will happen in the current year 2021?
Since January this year, the economic situation has been worsening almost daily. We at SOLIDARITY-LIBANON-SWITZERLAND want to continue our commitment to help at least a small part of the poorest families in the country. Starting in autumn 2021, we would like to enable even more children and young people to attend school. At the same time, our humanitarian aid continues uninterrupted and here too we would like to be able to reach more people in need. We and our partners and beneficiaries on the ground are grateful for their attention and for any donation, however modest.
At the extraordinary General Meeting of 18 September 2020 five new members were elected to the SLS committee. Nabih Yammine, the founder of SLS, well-known and recognised by all the friends and partners of the association, was unanimously re-elected for a further term.
Ms. Christine Thomi, a young retiree, lives in Lausanne. She has worked for 25 years as an educator and director of an early childhood institution. Today she accompanies people with life difficulties.
Dr. Andreas Barth is employed as a deacon in Lichtensteig in the diocese of St. Gallen. He is trained as a coach/coach and is responsible, among other things, for the pastoral care of the disabled and deaf.
Dr. Stephan Rothlin is originally from the canton of Schwyz and lives in Macau where he directs the Ricci Institute of Macau at the Saint Joseph University of Macau. He is a lecturer specialised in business ethics at the UIBE (University of International Affairs and Economics) in Beijing.
Father Nikodem Röösli lives in the Capuchin monastery in Schwyz. He has been engaged – among many other functions – for many years in the pastoral care of workers.
Mr. Franz Bachmann is retired and lives in Goldau, Canton Schwyz, with his wife and two daughters. He has many years of professional experience as an accountant in the financial administration of several companies.
Mr. Nabih Yammine lives in Oberdorf near Stans in Canton Nidwalden.
The assembly, on behalf of SLS and all its members and partners, expresses its gratitude for the commitment of the three committee members who are leaving us after many years of great voluntary work: Armin Gruber, Matthias Senn and Adrian Gander. Without them the successes of the last few years would not have been possible. The whole of SLS thanks them warmly!
Even before the disaster on 4 August, Solidarité-Liban-Suisse had already begun to help its partners in the country to provide support for families in need. Between May and early August alone, 327 families in need received aid in the form of food parcels and essential medicines. The money for this came from our reserve funds. We will continue to provide emergency aid to particularly hard-hit families in the coming months and hope to be able to expand this assistance even further.
The serious crisis in Lebanon today affects all the people who live there, not just the poorest among them. The catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August shook the country at a time when the people needed hope rather than another blow of fate. In the field of school education, for example: especially in these last few months, many brave and energetic men and women have been working to prepare the schools, which have been closed since the Corona pandemic, for the new school year. They did this despite the economic hardship, the pandemic and the galloping inflation.
Solidarité-Liban-Suisse is in close contact with its partner schools in Lebanon and will again support children and young people from disadvantaged and suffering families in the new school year by providing financial assistance for school fees.
We are also currently clarifying how we can support those of our partner schools in and around Beirut which were damaged by the explosion on August 4th.