DUBAI: To say that Lebanon has had a difficult year would be a major understatement. In addition to the tragic blast on Aug. 4 at Beirut’s port, the country’s economic collapse, collective protests against politicians and the coronavirus disease pandemic are inflicting a toll that the international community cannot ignore.
This is why Lebanese designer Elie Saab has decided to give back to his hometown of Beirut through a new charitable initiative, dedicated to vulnerable children, through UNICEF Lebanon.
Elie Saab Parfums has pledged to donate a portion of sales from the maison’s 10th anniversary campaign to UNICEF’s “Integrated Education and Well-Being for Vulnerable Girls in Lebanon Program,” to help ensure that high-risk adolescent girls have access to education and other basic services.
“I admire UNICEF’s mission in supporting the most vulnerable clusters and providing a solid platform to (young people). During these difficult times and in this competitive world, we should raise resilient children to be prepared for a brighter future,” said Saab in a statement.
UNICEF’s program in Lebanon is providing access to non-formal education, protection and gender-based violence-related services, a skills development and employability program, adolescent health services, including for mental health issues, as well as social assistance.
“By giving them the time and opportunities, they need, teaching them the right skills and empowering them, they will cultivate good qualities and secure better lives. Sometimes, a rough childhood can mold children into leaders with big inspirational life lessons,” noted the couturier.
Saab is the latest high-profile Lebanese creative figure to give back to his homeland following the spate of disastrous events in the country.
For too many children in Lebanon, access to education and health services has become extremely challenging as poverty has dramatically increased. In a bid for survival, more children are put at risk through exploitation, child labor and child marriage.
Ras Baalbek-born couturier Zuhair Murad released a T-shirt emblazoned with the text “Rise From the Ashes” in August last year, with 100 percent of the profits being donated to Offrejoie, a politically and religiously independent Lebanese NGO.