Charities Operating in LebanonAccording to Human Rights Watch, 74% of the Lebanese population lives in income poverty, earning less than $14 per day. Lebanon is classified as a lower-middle-income country by the World Bank, with over half of the population living below the national poverty line in 2020 due to COVID-19 and other economic factors. Fortunately, a number of NGOs are working to lend a helping hand to those who need it the most. Here are five charities operating in Lebanon.

5 Charities Operating in Lebanon

  1. The Lebanese Red Cross – The Lebanese Red Cross is a nonprofit organization established in 1945 that focuses on helping those with concerns relating to conflict, social life and health by fundraising and hosting events. This NGO was recognized by the state of Lebanon in 1946 as a public nonprofit and as an essential part of the medical service of the Lebanese army. Each sphere of the country has its own establishment that collaborates with other sectors in order to create the plenary organization. This structure was made to ensure that all areas of the country had some sort of humanitarian presence. Due to its national success, the Lebanese Red Cross received major international recognition and was able to join both the International Red Cross organization as well as the Red Crescent Movement in 1947. The Lebanese Red Cross has over 7,000 volunteers all across the country who excel in their duties respecting the seven Fundamental Principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Respecting these principles has allowed this organization to accomplish many goals with regard to helping those living in poverty. A few of these achievements include fundraising thousands of dollars toward humanitarian aid, providing training for those in marginalized communities, as well as providing medical care to those in need in order to save many lives. For example, the Lebanese Red Cross responded to the major bomb in Beirut in August 2021 by rescuing and providing first aid to those injured. These teams of volunteers also distributed food, water, masks and other essentials to more than 80,000 people who were affected. This is one of the many ways that the Lebanese Red Cross has contributed to helping people.
  2. Beyond Association – Established in 2013, Beyond Association is a non-governmental organization in Lebanon that aims to promote humanitarian issues globally among different populations. Their mission is to raise awareness of humanitarian concerns, enhance human rights and empower individuals on a global scale. Beyond Association collaborates with national and international NGOs to develop programs addressing the needs of the world’s most vulnerable. This organization aims to achieve its goals by organizing fundraisers, projects and providing resources to those living in poverty. A substantial contribution that this NGO has made to the Lebanese community is their job hunt which consists of a list of open work for those who have trouble finding work for whatever reason. This initiative has helped many individuals get an income and thus, live above the poverty line. Another one of Beyond Association’s projects is its educational initiative toward COVID-19. After the spread of the deadly virus, this organization launched both in-person and online information sessions in order to spread awareness of COVID-19 and to help stop the spread. These initiatives were targeted toward teenagers and young adults as well as those who are immunocompromised. This initiative is known to have significantly improved the quality of life for Lebanese during the global pandemic. 
  3. Save the Children – Save the Children was a national organization aimed at providing the best possible life and upbringing for children around the world. This predominantly national organization transitioned to an international one in 2012 due to its high success rate in Lebanon. Save the Children uses rights-based approaches in order to increase children’s access to education, basic needs and opportunities. This organization is different from the rest as it places high importance on empowering civil society both during peaceful and turbulent times. Lebanon is the country with the highest number of Syrian refugees (especially children) relative to its population and Save the Children has recognized this and thus, has provided the country with an abundance of resources and care for these individuals. This NGO has responded to this spike in demand by ensuring that everyone in Lebanon – regardless of their socio-economic status receives access to basic human needs such as food, shelter and electricity. This organization is able to work on many different initiatives at a time due to its large size. One of these projects includes providing shelter for families who are not able to access any – with priority given to families with children. Save the Children will provide families living in unfinished houses with a conditional cash grant in order to upgrade and/or finish their shelters. This grant ensures that living conditions are adequate for families with growing children.
  4. Caritas Lebanon – Caritas Lebanon is an organization established in 1950 that aims to reduce poverty and the exclusion of people in different social settings. They focus on creating social, medical, economic, development and emergency programs in order to benefit marginalized communities across the world. Caritas is a Latin word for charity which is the main focus of this organization through its variety of fundraisers. This NGO is a member of Caritas Internationalists – one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world. Caritas Lebanon has worked toward eliminating poverty in Lebanon and all over the world by creating programs in relation to basic assistance, education, food security, health and shelter which have proved to be immensely beneficial to those in poverty. The organization also created numerous response programs in relation to the emergency crises that our world has faced thus far including COVID-19 and the influx of Syrian refugees.
  5. BASSMA- BASSMA is a humanitarian organization established in 2002 whose mission is to empower the world’s most disadvantaged people through the rehabilitation of poverty-stricken families, social assistance, the protection and social reintegration of abused individuals and poverty awareness through Civic Engagement and Community Service projects. So far, BASSMA’s efforts in reducing global poverty have been deemed successful through their program of rebuilding homes in Lebanon that have been destroyed. This has helped many individuals with the financial burden of such a task that would take years to reach. Their deep empathy and commitment to helping families in need have proven to have helped many Lebanese families in the past 20 years. BASSMA’s gift-giving project is another significant initiative, providing children living in poverty or unsuitable conditions with small gifts during the holidays.

In short, Lebanon, through its numerous national and international humanitarian organizations, has made a significant impact in addressing global poverty and aiding those facing humanitarian issues. These efforts have improved the lives of many individuals. The Borgen Project looks forward to witnessing further progress in the future.

– Jennah Kalaaji
Photo: Flickr