Y.K. is autistic and was brought to us as a child when his mother died in front of him during the Lebanese civil war. Since that traumatic event he hasn’t spoken a word and is always fearful and anxious. He has a brother in the army. His father remarried and his step-mother, thankfully, treats him well. He likes to run and participates in our annual races. He interacts with all visitors coming to our Center from other organizations or schools.
F.Y. is orphan and was living alone in an empty house before he was brought to us. He is always fearful due to the traumas he survived. He is also afraid of losing his home because, at one point, after he lost both parents, his step-siblings broke into the house, beat him, and kicked him out to take over the place. Later, with difficulty, we helped resolve the situation and he got his house back. His aunt brought him to us. She doesn’t live in Lebanon, though, so there is nobody to care for him when he goes home every month. The neighbors sometimes check on him. He feels that our Center is his home. He has improved a lot since being with us and his fear of everything has reduced. He engages joyfully in the “Sweater & Wheat Relief Program”. He likes to help out in daily chores and participates in the variety of activities we hold at our Center.
B.D. comes from a large, uneducated family. Her father died during the Lebanese civil war and her mother died while giving birth to her. Her siblings blame her as they believe she was the cause of their mother’s death; so they reject her. A charity took all seven siblings under their care and educated them. The charity brought B.D. to us because they found she had cognitive delay. Her siblings went on to live their lives out of the country and nobody was left in Lebanon to take care of her. She is very responsible and caring and likes to be productive and active. She works in manufacturing the sweaters and likes to get into all the details about the wool, the knitting, and the ironing. She helps all other residents and she feels satisfied for being responsible.
E.L. is talkative. He has a beautiful voice and loves famous Lebanese singer Raghib Aleme. He was brought to us from Dar El Salib mental hospital after he had been given a lot of medication. Someone had taken advantage of him to rob a jewelry shop. When he was caught, he told what happened. He was thrown into jail and had a nervous breakdown. That’s how he ended up in the mental institution. After this incident, his sister brought him to us. He works in packing the grains for our “Sweater & Wheat Relief Program” which gives him satisfaction and self confidence. He likes music and enjoys playing the piano at our Center.
H.E. has been with us for a long time. She was brought to us by her mother when her father passed away. Her loving mother liked our place and told us she was leaving H.E. with us only because she had nobody else to help provide care and she was living in the mountains on government assistance herself. Then, she died suddenly and her family members came to comfort and take care of H.E. They told us that her mother had left a small rented room with clothes and other things for H.E. After some time, however, everything changed. Every time our kids had their monthly home visit, H.E. would be left alone at our Center. We would contact the family members who were supposed to care for her, but each of them would find an excuse and blame the other. H.E. felt rejected and started becoming more obstinate and difficult. We do our best to compensate for the missing love that the kids feel from their deceased parents. Despite the love and care we were giving her, she was in need of her mother’s love. H.E. works in manufacturing the sweaters. She likes to dance and act. She participates in all the events held at our Center and is most happy when celebrating mother’s day.
S.S.’s parents are living. He is different from the other kids in that he is very social. He loves people’s attention. He also loves watches, time, and Pepsi. He feels confined at the Center, so we let him go out couple times a day to buy something from the shop and talk to people. His parents love him very much. His father is a teacher from a far away area in Lebanon. They come and pick him up once a month for the weekend-long home visit. S.S. is so social that he can manage to take a taxi on his own in order to reach his home, and all the drivers love him. He loves to work in our sweater factory. He is one of the most knowledgeable at his job and loves to show visitors that he is working there. He is very well trained to operate complicated industrial knitting machines. We can say he is the chief of the sweater knitting process. He likes shopping and helping in daily chores.
L.R. is very nice and social. He loves people, dancing, entertaining others, prayer, and giving gifts to the teachers. He loves cleanliness and keeping his space clean. His father is deceased and his mother is elderly. He has a sister who cares for him. He loves our Center and when he is taken home for a visit he always gets into some trouble in order to come back. He has a very independent personality. Once, he ran away from home and nobody knew his whereabouts for three days, until we found him praying at Harissa (the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, a Marian pilgrimage site on a mountain 20 km north of Beirut). He works in the “Winter Sweater Program” and participates in all our activities. He likes trips, music and dance. He is the head of the cleaning department.
E.E. has a brother and a sister who are also disabled since his parents are first degree cousins. The kids and the mother are on medications. The father is a bus driver and relies on government assistance. The mother is blamed and rejected for the situation. Consequently, the children also feel rejected and are aggressive, so they each stay in a different institute because when they are together they become more difficult to deal with. E.E. participates in packing the grains. He takes part in all activities but he prefers exploring new places, going to museums and exhibits.
N.R. is not from Lebanon. Her parents are deceased. She is lovely and affectionate. She has a sister who cares for her and lives in Lebanon with her husband. However, the husband forbids N.R. from being brought into their home. So, every month, N.R. has to be sent to her country to stay with her relatives and another disabled sister there. When she is home, however, she smokes, has no supervision, and ends up spending the nights out. She works in manufacturing the sweaters and is good at handicrafts. She likes plays, trips, and music.
A.S.’s father is deceased. She was brought to us by her mother who is very ill with heart and kidney diseases, and is herself dependent on other peoples’ care. The girl is affected by the situation although she is lively, loves to dance and bake cakes. She sings, laughs a lot, and loves animals. She is very obstinate, maybe due to her upbringing and circumstances. She is always in fear of losing her mother. A.S. helps our cook in baking cakes and preparing cookies. She likes plays and music. She feels good when surrounded by children and pets.
D.N. has been with us since a long time. His father is deceased and his mother recently passed away. He was very attached to her so he is very sad. He loves nature, where he feels peaceful and secure, and knows a lot about wild plants. He likes little animals, picking flowers, gardening and cultivating. He loves to cook, enjoys boiling wheat, and likes to eat Zaatar. He talks a lot, is very sweet and active.
I.N. is not Lebanese. His father died in war and his mother and sisters brought him to us. I.N. has to travel to his country to see his beloved and loving family. He is caring and helpful and works from the heart. He is involved in all of our activities and is very active and helpful. He hates sitting doing nothing. He enjoys trips and music.
N.H. and E.H.
N.H. and E.H. are brothers and orphans. They have a sister who cares for them financially and one who looks after them during their home visits. Their family cares for them and is so protective that the brothers don’t do anything alone. They help in packing the grains. They like singing and dancing, and being surrounded by people.
M.E.’s father recently passed away. He has t brothers; one of them is very caring of him while the other one is not at all. His mother has Parkinson’s disease, cries all the time and is always sad. So, H.E. – empathically – also cries a lot and without apparent reason. He cries so much that his eyes became affected by extreme sensitivity and inflammation. He enjoys music, handicrafts and wood-work, but his constant sadness makes him less productive than the other kids.
D.T. has to take a lot of medication because his health is problematic. He cannot see too many people and is not social. He gets nervous from any little thing and always wants to go home; but his father is deceased, his brother is disabled too, and his mother cannot care for both of them. He comes from a very poor and uneducated area. His neighbors tease him and are unkind to him. We visited his place to learn about his surroundings. We found that it was best to save him the regrettable circumstances and so he goes on home visits only sometimes. D.T. likes music and enjoys packing grains as he finds himself productive.
B.Y. is very polite. His affectionate father is a government official and his mother is a teacher. They brought him to us as there were two other ill people in the house. Later on, his mother developed cancer. B.Y. was by her side throughout her illness. He wanted to spend more time with her and was very distressed. He also suffers from epilepsy, so the situation led him to have many seizures. His mother passed away last year. Since he has a strong personality, he was able to attend her funeral, but this life event has affected him and saddened him very much. He cries often. We had to work very hard on him to bring him out of his pain. He is now recovering slowly. He works in manufacturing our sweaters. He likes working in the kitchen and helps our cook. He likes music and prefers staying away from crowded places.
D.I.’s father is deceased and his mother recently passed away leaving him some money. Upon his mother’s death, his sister in law had taken him into their house, seemingly to benefit from his inheritance. After using up his money, she grew tired of him and brought him to our Center in agreement with D.I.’s brother, her husband. She tells us that she loves D.I. very much but, in fact, she no longer wants him to go to them for the monthly home visits, saying that she is busy. So, D.I. has no home to go to. His sister in law is looking for other people to take him in, rather than have him for a couple days a month in their home. D.I. helps in packing our grains. He enjoys morning walks and collecting wood for fire. He helps in daily chores, especially sweeping and mopping.
K.A.’s father is deceased and his mother is also affected by cognitive delay. He has a good heart and understanding. His sister cares for him but is ill with cancer. When he goes home he smokes a lot; spends his time in the streets and has unruly behavior. He likes being surrounded by people. When he runs out of cigarettes he asks anyone, so we have to keep extra watch on him. He participates in packing the grains and helps with daily chores, especially sweeping and mopping.
T.D. was brought to us when she lost both her parents. Her brother is out of the country most of the time and his wife works till 5 pm. T.D. needs extra care and cannot be left alone as she is totally unable to care for herself. Her sister in law, however, is neither willing nor available to look after her. So, every time she goes home, she finds there is no place for her and feels rejected. She is excellent in handicrafts. She likes trips and colors and paints very well. She works in manufacturing our sweaters.
R.N. was 13 when he was brought to us by his elderly father who later passed away. He is very sweet and active. He helps the other kids because he is in better health than them. His family – that is very poor and limited in level of education and awareness – lives below the poverty line. After paying them a visit we discovered that two other children were also disabled and staying in other institutes. R.N. has a sister whom we very much respect because she has been responsible for caring for their sick mother and the three disabled kids. She is illiterate and works as cleaning lady in a place where one of the disabled brothers works too. She is the only carer and provider for all her siblings. R.N. is involved in all activities: wood work, growing plants, distributing the grains, etc. This makes him feel independent and productive. He likes plays and trips.
E.D.’s father is deceased and his mother has cognitive delay. His siblings are not in a position to care for him so only his mother looks after him but she herself is in need of help. Therefore, we are always concerned every time he goes home for the monthly visit. We worry about who will give him his medicines and care for him during that weekend. Every time we speak with his siblings about caring for him, they find excuses or complain about their own problems. E.D. works in the “Winter Sweater Program”. He helps packing the grains too. He likes plays, trips, and music.
R.L. is epileptic. His mother recently passed away and his father is elderly. There is a lot going on in R.L.’s family that causes him to be exceptionally nervous and have epileptic seizures. Since his father is elderly, when he visits home, he is not cared for even in basic hygiene. R.L. participates in packing the grains. He can’t stand music and rarely participates in plays. He prefers doing the daily chores and going on trips.
A.N. is very polite and comes from a good area of Beirut. She loves theater, acting, and the arts. She is very sensible and helpful. Both her parents are deceased and her siblings are often abroad. During her monthly home visits she stays at her brother’s place. Her sister in law is a TV anchor in Lebanon. As her relatives are busy and away, she ends up being alone during the three-day visits and is challenged with having to prepare food for herself while not harming herself with dangerous tools. A.N. likes theater, art, painting, and visiting exhibits. She helps in the kitchen, especially with baking cakes and preparing sweets.
Y.D.’s mother is deceased and his father is very ill and elderly. He has two brothers who have their own issues to deal with. He loves to enjoy himself and to eat; and loves to tell what he wants to eat – like cake, chicken, Tabboule, and meatballs. Y.D. likes good food and is always willing to help our cook, especially in the preparations of any of our residents’ birthdays. He is very cute, loves to sing and knows many songs, old and new. He sings all day, even though he’s out of tune, and knows the lyrics very well. He works in the “Winter Sweater Program”.
F.N. is not Lebanese and comes from a big family. He is schizophrenic. His siblings are in a center for orphans because they only have their father to take care of them but he works all day. F.N. grew up in the streets; he is troubled and unruly. He is well aware, but lazy. We spoke with a hairdresser in Broumana to train and employ him in order to keep him busy and out of trouble, but it didn’t work well. He participates in packing the grains. He likes music and trips.
N.F.’s parents are divorced and remarried to different people, and his siblings are troubled. He grew up in the streets like a homeless person and was lost to bad influence. At one point, he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. His sister, later, brought him to us upon referral from the hospital. He has to take medications regularly. His sister secured him a house. She also has a disabled child and works hard to care for both her child and N.F. since their father does not care for them and his mother recently passed away. He goes to his sister on the monthly visits. He likes being surrounded by people and going on trips. Though he doesn’t like to work, he helps in packing the grains.
E.H.’s parents are living and he has one lovely sister. His father travels a lot and his mother cares for the family. The father does not believe anything is wrong with E.H. and thinks his son should be allowed to do whatever he wants. E.H. is spoiled to the point of having no boundaries. He always wants to be in the streets. Since the family is somewhat affluent, many people take advantage of him financially. His father does not intervene in any of this, so we need to give extra watch and care. E.H. is sociable, enjoys working in manufacturing our sweaters and packing the grains. He likes trips.