Of the Lebanese population of 6 million, nearly 30% live under the poverty line, while an estimated 10% faces physical or mental disabilities. Of this disabled population, 85% live in rural areas relying on charity while they could be trained, instead, to become productive. Most of these marginalized and disabled farmers own small lots of land but typically do not cultivate them. High costs of production and insufficient income causes them to leave their land neglected and go live in slum areas of major cities hoping to find work. However, due to the high unemployment rate in the country and the poor conditions in the slums, many become outlaws. Others do not cultivate the land because they rely on parents’ money, or politicians’ support which incidentally “buys” their loyalty.
Due to wars, lack of resources, corruption and ill organization in Lebanon, the services of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs have been insufficient to cater to the large number of people in need. 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, making Lebanon one of the countries in the world with the highest per-capita concentration of refugees, now over one-quarter of the country’s population.
Al Amal Institute for the Disabled has been filling this gap since 1959 by caring for and activating Lebanon’s most undervalued population while also reaching the most marginalized in the country. Due to limited resources, however, we are hardly meeting our full potential. Our actual operational capacity, at present, is over 50,000 Sweater & Wheat Relief Packages a year. With adequate funding, we could be reaching over 50,000 people in dire need each year.
Please consider making a donation towards our programs and learning about other ways you can support us. Thank you!
THE WINTER SWEATER PROGRAM
In the late 1980s a UNICEF truck surprisingly delivered sewing machines to us. It was UNICEF's first and only material support we received to date. We put this gift to good use and started, in 1992, the Winter Sweater Program which involves our residents with disabilities in the Al Amal sweater factory in Broummana to produce sweaters for the needy, under the supervision of our trainers.
Since the start of the program, our lovely guests warmed over 200,000 people in need.
THE WELFARE WHEAT PROGRAM
85% of people with disabilities in Lebanon live in rural areas. We started this program in 2002 to promote the economic productivity of farmers with disabilities and small marginalized farms across Lebanon.
We purchase their produce at prices agreed upon before cultivation and usually 30-40% more than what the Ministry of Agriculture pays them.
We now have 80 farmers with disabilities from around Lebanon enrolled in this Program.
THE SWEATER & WHEAT PROGRAM
The Sweater & Wheat Relief Program, started in 2006, combines the two programs above.
A US$100 donation sponsors a package unit containing: 1 sweater; the estimated yearly individual consumption of 15 kg of crops (chickpeas, lentils, bulgur, beans, and wheat); and locally made soap. We personally deliver our Packages to 69 NGOs across Lebanon as "a gift from a person with special needs to a person in need".
Since the beginning of this program we have delivered over 10,000 Sweater & Wheat Relief Packages. We work closely with the Lebanese Government, the Lebanese Army, and civil society organizations to fulfill our mission.
Please consider making a donation in any amount today.
Your gift is channeled in full towards sponsoring the Sweater & Wheat Relief Program.
We always send our generous donors updates and reports on the impact of their gift.
Make a difference today in the life of someone who needs help the most!