Category Archives: Society

A Lonely End To The Only the Lonely Project

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[YouTube]

Damaged and replaced stand buttons: 38
Damaged and replaced stand cameras: 19
Damaged and replaced stands: 6

I guess this pretty much sums up this social experiment conducted by Volvo. It’s a very disappointing but expected outcome.

Funnily enough, the trend in Lebanon lately is to report cars or motorcycles breaking the law but it looks like people just like to take pictures and share them on FB and Twitter (and then go break the law somewhere else).

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Meet Ajialouna: A Charitable, Social, Healthcare, Educational And Cultural Organization In Beirut

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The first time I heard about Ajialouna was when they launched with ABC Verdun the Ramadan Festival few weeks ago, and when ABC donated over 10,000 pieces samples of clothes to Ajialouna to distribute them to families during Eid. Since I wasn’t able to make it to the event in Verdun, I thought I pay Ajialouna a visit and see what they do, specially after reading that it’s been around for 20 years now, and that it’s not only a charity organisation, but also offers public, medical, educational and health services for orphans, widows, underprivileged families and individuals.

I headed to Ajialouna’s head office in Tallet Khayyat and met with their marketing manager Zeina, who briefed me a bit on the organization’s history and introduced me to the staff before showing me around. We started the tour at the ground floor where needy families come to shop for clothes (for free) and get food supplies to satisfy their daily needs.

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The clothes are all brand new and are donated all year long by different companies and clothing stores. As for the food, they prepare on a daily basis grocery bags for hundreds of families that include cans, frozen goods, ingredients for a Fattoush salad, meat and chicken and desserts as well. Unlike the clothes, Ajialouna buys most of the food and distribute them for free of course.

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Aside from food and clothes, Ajialouna also provides social, educational and medical help for all families. Any family can apply for help, as long as they register and fill in all the needed information. Before the final approval, Ajialouna’s social committee will study the application and visit the household of the applicant to decide on the authenticity of the case and the budget needed to assist. Once approved, Ajialouna will try to find a sponsor for the applicant. Ajialouna currently has over 825 sponsors in Beirut and 16 in Tripoli where their second office is located.

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In addition to the social support, Ajialouna has a women empowerment program that provides basic education and training for underprivileged women. It’s also a free program that is aimed at empowering women in the Lebanese society and giving them the opportunity to acquire a job in different fields, such as cooking, hair dressing, makeup etc …

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More than 100 women have already graduated ever since the program was launched in 2010, and I met some of them who work in the kitchen and the atelier, which are both located within the Ajialouna building. The products from the Atelier are all high quality ones and sold at a permanent exhibition at Ajialouna and several exhibitions in and outside Lebanon like the Garden Show Festival. As for the kitchen which is run by 25 needy women and widows, they cover all the catering requests all week long and I’ve tasted some of the stuff they prepare and it’s really good.

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Last but not least, Ajialouna has a whole floor dedicated to health care. It’s technically a medical center equipped with the latest medical equipment and clinics, and operated by some of the best doctors in Beirut, and everything is free of charge. There’s even a small gym and a physiotherapy room, as well as a pharmacy that distributes meds for free. Added to that, Ajialouna has a program called Life Petals aimed at helping children with cancer.

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They’ve also started back in 2004 a great initiative aimed at helping the elderly, and assist them in covering the outstanding fees surgery and treatment beyond the coverage of the Ministry of Public Health. This is really important as a lot of needy families struggle to cover the expenses of their sick parents sometimes and the normal insurance only covers up to a certain age.

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I am sure I’ve missed a lot of services and programs that Ajialouna offers, but I have to say I was really blown away by the services provided by this non-profit organization, and by how structured and organized they are. They have a food shop and clothing store, they have clinics, a gym, their own kitchen and atelier, and they train and employ needy women all based on donations and sponsors. They even provide free medical examinations to over 200 public schools in Beirut and treat the students that have medical issues in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The work they’re pulling is quite amazing and it feels great to know about such non-profit organizations in Lebanon. If you wish to know more about Ajialouna, check out their facebook page [Here] and their website [Here].

Eat Out for Life Campaign: Eat Out Until August 7th And Help The CCCL

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From the first till the 7th August, if you eat out at any of the restaurants below, you will be contributing to the treatment of a sick child at the CCCL. There are a lot of popular restaurants participating in this initiative like Central, Pepe’s, Pzzco, Brgrco, Crepaway, Mayrig and Shawarmanji.

You can find the nearest restaurants [Here] and give them a visit before the 7th of August.

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Beaten Not Broken: A Lebanese Woman Shares Her Domestic Violence Story To Encourage Others To Speak Out

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I was reading a story on ellearabia about a domestic violence survivor from Lebanon sharing her experience and then I find out she’s one of my good friends. I’m talking about Nadine Mazloum, who’s a blogger, the editor for LBCI Online English News and more importantly someone I deeply respect and admire for her opinions. I’ve had endless talks with Nadine and I love everything she writes and covers and I can’t believe such a terrible thing would happen to her!

Nevertheless, Nadine decided to share her experience and talk about it openly, or as she beautifully puts it: “I speak because I can, and I assure you gutless man, that all your attempts to break me will only double my efforts, will only give me strength, will only make me rise.”

You can read her original post [Here] and her interview with ElleArabia [Here].

I hope all women get inspired from her and share their domestic violence stories because it always helps to speak out and let others know and take action in anyway possible.

Stay Strong Nadine!

Helping Donner Sang Compter Reach 10,000 Donors

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I added a banner on the right side of the blog to help Donner Sang Compter reach 10,000 donors in 10 months. The campaign will end on May 16 2015 and everyone is invited to spread the word and sign up!

Donner Sang Compter has been pulling a tremendous job by linking blood donors to patients in need, so let’s make this mission easier for them by becoming donors. You can register at this website: [www.donatebloodtoday.me]

DSC’s emergency number is 03 314 868 for those who don’t know it.

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Little Abbas’ Father Apprehended By The Lebanese Police

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[YouTube]

Based on reports from Al-Jadeed and LBCI, the security forces have identified the people behind the video that went viral earlier today and was showing a young kid beating another child and being encouraged by his parents. Moreover, LBCI just reported that the Internal Security Forces’ cyber crimes bureau raided the al-Raml al-Ali area in Dahieh to arrest the father of the minor Abbas. T.

This is great news and I am glad this video went viral and these people were arrested. I don’t get if it was the father or some relative or a total stranger who did this, they must be punished accordingly because this is a crime against an innocent child.

Education Minister Elias Bou Saab Asks Schools To Respect Religious Freedom

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This statement comes one month after the Sabis controversy and clearly states that Sabis School has to amend its regulations and cannot by law ban the display of religious symbols. Personally speaking, I’d rather see secular schools in Lebanon and I wish Lebanese students would learn to co-exist away from religious and political considerations. However, the problem with Sabis is that it made an exception for veils which doesn’t make sense coming from a secular school.

Education Minister Elias Bou Saab called on Lebanese educational institutions Thursday to respect freedom of expression and religious practice, a month after SABIS School announced new regulations banning crosses while allowing hijab.

“We call on… public and private schools…to adhere to the content of Articles 9 and 10 of the Lebanese Constitution,” Bou Saab’s statement said, “by not issuing any regulations, decisions or teachings that could violate the [students’] freedom of religion.” [DailyStar]

Batroun Khallia A7la: Beach Clean Up Campaign

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A group of young Lebanese have started an initiative “Batroun Khalia A7la” aimed at keeping beaches in Batroun clean. They’ve already cleaned with the help of volunteers the Ghleyghile beach and gathered over 40 trash bags that included a TV, some car wheels, used baby diapers among other things. I uploaded before and after pictures from their Facebook page.

This Sunday, they are organizing another beach clean up at BlueBay Beach in Batroun as well. You can meet them at 7 am there and help them with the cleaning process. Everyone is more than welcome to join!

I love these initiatives and I wish people from every area in Lebanon would volunteer to keep their city clean.

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Between The World Cup And Israel’s Military Offensive Against Gaza

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Ever since Israel started its offensive against Gaza few days ago, a lot of people have been showing their support for the Palestinian people while some of them have been bashing football fans for not caring enough about Gaza and cheering for their teams. “How could you watch the World Cup while children are dying?” and “Shame on you for ignoring the massacres on Palestine” are some of the messages I got and I couldn’t but laugh at them.

We all condemn what’s happening in Gaza and what’s been happening for the past 30 years, as we condemn the hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the Syrian conflict everyday, and in Iraq and Yemen and anywhere there’s a conflict. However, as much as some Lebanese and Arabs feel concerned with what’s happening in neighboring countries, there’s nothing we can do to help even if we wanted to, and the truth is we need help in Lebanon more than any other country (except Palestine maybe). Moreover, if you truly wish to help Palestinians, do so on a daily basis and don’t just remember them during wars and start spreading pictures of dead babies and burned bodies on Facebook.

Going back few months from now, innocent people were dying in Tripoli (In Lebanon of course) due to sectarian fights yet a lot of people who are sharing Gaza posts and pictures all over the internet didn’t feel that concerned with what’s happening. A lot of Lebanese as well don’t feel concerned with the suicide bombings in Dahieh and Beirut’s suburbs, without forgetting the 1 Million+ Syrian refugees suffering in Lebanon.

To sum things up, stop pretending to care about Gaza children if you’ve just realized that they are suffering, stop telling people not to watch the World Cup because people are dying in Palestine and stop sharing graphic images to get people’s attention. If anything, start caring about your country more and let people enjoy their lives the way they see it appropriate.

Lebanese Man Sentenced To 9 Months In Prison For Beating And Torturing His Wife

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wife Tamara Harisi and her baby daughter

He should be jailed for 9 years not just 9 months but it’s better than nothing. However, I wonder who will protect the wife once the guy is freed from prison because even if she divorces him, he might still go after her. After all, he didn’t just beat her but he even tried to set her on fire but his lighter didn’t work fortunately.

Here’s what Tamara had to say [Video].

A husband that beat his wife to within an inch of her life was fined LL20 million and given nine months in prison, Lebanese women’s rights organization Kafa announced Tuesday, the latest in a number of brutal cases involving spouse abuse.

Hussein Ftouni, 30, tortured his 22-year-old wife Tamara Harisi for hours June 7, leaving her with severe bruises all over her face and body.

The case is the first example of the courts using a new law passed in April aimed at protecting women from domestic violence, but Maya Ammar, a legal adviser for Kafa (Enough), told The Daily Star that the sentence was not enough for the crime committed. [DailyStar]