"Al Amal" means "hope" in Arabic. Inspired by her eldest son Selim (affectionately called Sousou), who suffered cognitive disabilities, late Mrs. Mounira El Solh dedicated her life between the 1950s and 1960s to advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities. Upon being introduced to late Lebanese president Shehab and creating an alliance with him, she succeeded in convincing the Government to found and support Al Amal Institute for the Disabled, in 1959, as a residential school for the Ministry of Health with the mission to care for the well-being of people with special needs and the marginalized.
Mrs. El Solh also helped the Ministry of Social Affairs to establish the Department of Mental Health in 1960. She was a recipient of many awards, including the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Mothers Award 2000-2005.
Al Amal Institute for the Disabled has been filling this gap since 1959, by serving and activating Lebanon’s most marginalized population. We take individuals with special needs under our care and build networks with disabled and marginalized farmers with the aim to help them turn into productive and self-reliant social actors who add to Lebanon’s GNP. This is especially critical not only in view of the instability in the country, but also due to the staggering number of war-displaced refugees coming from Syria and Iraq (the official figure stands at 1 million but the actual number is estimated to be twice as much).
Through our help the disabled have been offered an opportunity for self-reliance otherwise unavailable to them. Their productivity brings them - with our help and expertise - the necessary income to live an honorable life in a country that grossly marginalizes individuals with disabilities. Since 1959, Al Amal Institute has been returning people with special needs the respect they should be owed as integral parts of society, as the latter witnesses what these lovely people have to offer to both the economy as well as other individuals in need.