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The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR writes a story about FAID and Lebanon Trust

Hot off the press: the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR publishes a story about FAID and Lebanon Trust

Six-year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed responds to questions in a classroom at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf in Beirut, Lebanon. © UNHCR/Haidar Darwish

During our trip in October, a delegation of the UN Refugee Agency came to visit us at FAID. They interviewed us and the school’s staff, visited the audiology department and the classrooms, spoke to children and parents – and then filmed and summarised all this in a wonderful story.(opens a new tab)

Watch the video (© UNHCR)

Special thanks to Matt Saltmarsh, Lisa Abou Khaled, Haidar Darwish and to all their colleagues who made this possible.

Lebanon Trust meets UNHCR Ireland

March 2017: a meeting with Jody Clarke, Media and Public Affairs officer for the UN Refugee Agency in Dublin

Lebanon Trust had a meeting in Dublin with Jody Clarke, Media and Public Affairs officer for the UN Refugee Agency in Ireland. A very useful and fruitful discussion – Many thanks to Jody for his time and interest!

Amir’s story – encouraging news in much despair

Meet Amir. He is deaf and lost his family and his country – but now has found hope

This nice boy is Amir, 11 years old, and FAID’s most recent addition. Amir was born deaf, in Aleppo, an ancient and beautiful city in Syria that has been devastated by war.

His parents divorced and little Amir lived with his father, until they had to flee Syria for their life. His mother’s whereabouts are currently unknown; she is believed to be still in Syria. Father and son took refuge in Lebanon, where his father remarried. But Amir was mistreated at home and ran away several times, until he was found by “Home of Hope”, a Lebanese organisation caring for abandoned children, and put into FAID’s care.

Amir being visited by Dr Nemer Attieh, FAID’s resident audiologist.

At FAID Amir’s hearing was tested by the audiologist and he was fitted with hearing aids. He also started to attend school, receive speech therapy and psychological help. He is now learning how to interact with his peers and teachers, adjusting rapidly to his new, peaceful life.

Amir is a full-boarder at FAID and spends the weekends at Home of Hope.

Amir has been fitted with hearing aids.

Amir, second from left, now atteds school at FAID.

This is Aleppo, Amir’s home city, in January 2017 (photos © BBC/Jeremy Bowen)


A hand-made card from the childen of FAID for our friends and supporters

“Best Friends: Hard to Find, and Lucky to Have”
A hand-made card from the childen of FAID for our friends and supporters

The flags from Lebanon, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands on this card to honour our nationalities.

This beautiful, hand-made and lovingly decorated card from the children of FAID is dedicated to all our friends to have helped our projects: your heart is in the right place. Thank you!

Happy 2017 and a big thank you to our friends and supporters

Best wishes for a peaceful and lucky 2017 to all, and in particular to these friends, who chose to celebrate Christmas and the new year with generosity:

Silvana Falaschini
Fabio & Marta Delfante-Cocurullo
Patricia Meade
Enrico & Lilli Bertolotto
Nino & Milda Cocurullo
Fam. Parodi
Giovanna Pellegrini
Carla & Natale Ferraro
MC Ferraro
Giovanni Zappavigna & family
Mick Halpin
David John Landy
Mike and Jordan Shea
Lilliput Stores in Dublin
Symantec Corporation, Dublin

2016 activities and results

Lebanon Trust’s 2016 results

Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the new playground at FAID.

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Dear friends and supporters,

we would like to tell you what we did this year with your donations.

We went to Lebanon in October, and stayed at the deaf children’s school that we support, the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID). There, we built a brand-new playground for the kids and donated towards the school’s operational expenses. About 25% of FAID’s pupils are refugees from the Syria war.

The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Beirut visited us at FAID. This resulted in a very nice video and story, also published here on our own website, Facebook and Twitter.

Watch the video: (© UNHCR)

We also published a beautiful story about two deaf children who used to live in poverty in a Syrian refugee camp, and who are now attending school at FAID thanks to internet crowdfunding, organised by a clever American volunteer.

Like every year, we also visited two refugee camps and donated to their kindergartens, run by our local partner Association Najdeh. Lebanon hosts more than 1 million registered refugees from Syria, on a local population of 4 million (and 450 thousand Palestinian refugees). It’s like Ireland had 1.2 million refugees – the real number is 11 thousand – or the UK had 16.3 million – real number 169 thousand (source: UN).

The total amount donated in 2016 slightly exceeded last year’s.

Our 2016 activity in eight pictures

(more pictures here)

Before Lebanon Trust’s intervention: the area around the gilrs’ dormitory at FAID was unused

… and after: the new playground at the girls’ dormitory

The children welcomed the new playground with much enthusiasm

Our chairman Christy, justifiably proud of the work done

A warm welcome at the refugee camp of Chatila. We visit and support this kindergarten since 2010.

Kindergarten of the refugee camp of Burj el-Shemali, in South Lebanon. We visit regularly and support this kindergarten since 2012.

Lebanon Trust’s donated USD 8000 to FAID

Lebanon Trust donated a total of USD 4000 to two refugee kindergartens

What we did at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) in Beirut:

  1. Donation of one year’s worth of funding for the school bus, the electricity generator and the classrooms’ heating. Total: USD 8000
  2. Maintenance and improvement of FAID’s premises. Tools, material and equipment have been purchased by Lebanon Trust, and the work carried out by the volunteers themselves: total USD 2534
  • Creation of a new playground on a vacant plot outside the girls’ dormitory: complete clearance of the area and of its access pathways; complete re-paving; restoration and re-painting of the perimeter fence; purchase, installation of 4 large wooden boards along the perimeter fence to be painted and decorated by the children; construction and installation of a safety door to the generator housing; sourcing, purchase and installation of child safety surface and of high-quality metal playground equipment (slide, swings, merry-go-round, see-saw, etc.; 5 pieces in total); restoration, re-painting and installation of six wooden benches in the area.
  • Creation of a garden with plants and flower beds (purchased & planted for the purpose) outside the girls’ dormitory, to provide the children with a pleasant and safe recreational area.
  • Purchase and installation of high-quality metal merry-go-round and see-saw for the kindergarten’s existing playground.
  • Installation of a net around the external perimeter of the school’s courtyard, to allow the pupils to play football.
  1. Organisation of a visit by a delegation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon, headed by Senior Communication and Public Information Officer Matthew Saltmarsh. The visit included interviews with Lebanon Trust’s officers and school staff; visit of the classrooms during school time; visit of the Audiology Department with live demonstrations; illustration of the school academic programme and of the challenges faced by FAID; visit of the playground area being built by us; filming of school activities, speech therapy and interviews.
  2. Organisation of a visit by a delegation from the Symantec Corporation’s Beirut office, headed by the Commercial Manager for Egypt and the Levant Region Marcel Nasser. Symantec’s Ireland HQ have been supporting us for many years now.
  3. Evaluation of the work done by FAID and discussion of their plans and needs; meetings with their management (Director and Board), with the staff and pupils.

What we did at the refugee kindergartens:

  1. Kindergarten of the Chatila refugee camp in Beirut: on-going financial support for books and educational material, USD 2000; field visit with inspection of classrooms, roof playground and educational material financed by Lebanon Trust, meeting with the teachers, the children and the schoolmaster
  2. Kindergarten of the Burj el Shemali refugee camp in Tyre: on-going financial support for books and educational material, USD 2000; field visit with inspection of new and refurbished classrooms and playground; meetings with pupils, teachers and head teacher; detailed discussion about their needs and plans.


Income: Donations to Lebanon Trust (Euro)

Fundraising events 3171.94
Private donations, collection boxes, sponsorship cards, proceeds from MC Ferraro’s latest book 7878.08
Corporate sponsorships 2484.47
Total 13534.49

(Year close Nov 30, 2016; EUR/USD/CHF currency exchange rate: 2016 average)

Expenditure: Donations to the supported institutions, expenses (Euro)

Web hosting & domains 180.00
Hardware & materials, transport, logistics, etc. 2533.30
Contribution to FAID 7520.00
Contribution to Chatila refugee kindergarten 1880.00
Contribution to Burj el Shemali refugee kindergarten 1880.00
Total 13993.30
Loss 458.81

Accommodation was kindly provided by FAID for free. Flights and local transport have been paid for privately. The volunteers took unpaid leave from their employers.

Fundraising events organised by the volunteers over the year: Christmas swim, street collections, weekly raffles, cake sales, quiz night, virtual flea market, bucket collections.

Our special thanks to these friends, who helped us this year:

  • Paul’s Barber Shop, 123a Old County Road, Crumlin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • The people of St. Peter’s Crescent, Walkinstown (Dublin, Ireland)
  • McCormack’s Cycle Centre, 31a, Dorset Street Lower (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Eddy McHugh’s Shop, Patrick’s Road in Greenhills (Dublin, Ireland)
  • O’Neill’s House of Sport, Walkinstown Avenue (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Paul Reid Dental Laboratories (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Kelly’s Welding & Engineering Supplies Ltd (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Gerard Kelly (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Big Mick (Dublin, Ireland)
  • All the lads in Farleng Engineering Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • John Farley, owner, Farleng Engineering Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Dr Maher Kemmoona, Walkinstown (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Lilliput Stores, 5 Rosemount Terrace, Arbour Hill (Dublin, Ireland)
  • … and all the many people who sponsored Paul Horace on the sponsor cards
  • Mark Teahan, Tralee Printing Works (Tralee, Ireland)
  • Breda Flynn, wife of the late Joe Flynn (Tralee, Ireland)
  • Danie Linnane, of Linnanes Bar (Tralee, Ireland)
  • Neill Nolan, of Nolan’s Garage (Tralee, Ireland)
  • Darren O’ Sullivan, of The Castle Bar (Tralee, Ireland)
  • David Keane, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Mick Halpin, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Stephanie Derwojed, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Julie Weber, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Fam. Pier Ponzano (Arquata Scrivia, Italy)
  • Catherine & Adrian Poeydomenge-Ruf (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Fam. Della Penna (Genoa, Italy)
  • Fam. Prola-Smith (London, UK)
  • Ole Vossnack (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Rosalba Napolitano (Milan, Italy)
  • Wolfram Rausch, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Jayne Delahunt, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Amanda Davis, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Louise Hanlon, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Elaine Curley, Symantec Corp. (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Staff, Committee and customers at St Peregrines GAA Club, Blanchardstown (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Matt Saltmarsh, UNHCR (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Lisa Abou Khaled, UNHCR (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Marcel Nasser and colleagues, Symantec Corp. (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Mike Shea (Tralee)
  • Michael Conway (Tralee)
  • Chelsea Conway (Tralee)
  • Maria Cristina Ferraro (Genoa, Italy)
  • Martina Merkle (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Nino e Milda Cocurullo (Genoa, Italy)
  • Patricia Meade
  • Enrico e Lilli Bertolotto (Genoa, Italy)
  • Giovanni Zappavigna & fam (Marina di Massa, Italy)
  • Alessandro Bertolotto (Genoa, Italy)
  • Fam. Parodi (Genoa, Italy)
  • Fam. Vigna-Mori (Savona, Italy)
  • Alison Hirt-Ferguson (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Giovanna Pellegrini (Genoa, Italy)
  • Giovanni e Lucia Fasanella (Asmara, Eritrea)
  • Licinio Aquini e Caterina Alberghini (Arquata Scrivia, Italy)
  • Silvana Falaschini (Livorno, Italy)
  • Mariapia Porta (Genoa, Italy)
  • Caterina Pellegrini (Turin, Italy)
  • Filippo e Laura Peschiera-Casali (Genoa, Italy)
  • Francesco Devia & fam (Genoa, Italy)
  • Fabio & Marta Delfante-Cocurullo (Genoa, Italy)
  • Fam. Ricci (Arquata Scrivia, Italy)

Meet Warda and Assad, and their amazing story

Meet Warda and Assad, and their amazing story


A wonderful story to share today!

Earlier this year a young American, John Van Rooy, who teaches English in Saudi Arabia, went to Lebanon’s Bekaa valley to work as a volunteer among Syrian refugees. He got to know a family there – listen to his own words:

This family “led by an amazing woman named Wafaa, is from Aleppo—a city that has been catastrophically destroyed by the Syrian conflict. They have been living in a refugee camp for the past 4 years. Wafaa supports her severely disabled husband, elderly mother-in-law, and 3 children—including a deaf daughter named Warda. Warda is 12 years old and has been unable to attend school for the past 4 years as there are no programs for deaf children in Zahle. Wafaa told me that Warda would cry every day when she watched the other children going off to school. With the assistance of the Learning Centre for the Deaf in Beirut, we were able to find a boarding school where Warda can study and learn to read, write, and sign. The cost of the program is $3500, which includes room and board for 1 year.

So John started a crowdfunding collection, and in just 3 months managed to raise 6000 dollars, enough for Warda and also Assad, age 9, another refugee deaf boy who had never attended school before.

Now both Warda and Assan are at FAID, where they attend school, are among friends, and at last live in a peaceful and safe environment.

Well done John and thank you FAID for this amazing work!

Donation matching from Symantec in Ireland

Two friends lend a huge hand – and a matching donation from Symantec Ireland – to Lebanon Trust

With their tireless support, David Keane and Wolfram Rausch of Symantec in Dublin made it possible for Lebanon Trust to receive a USD 2000 matching donation for our project. Thank you Symantec, David and Wolfram!

A visit by UNHCR to Lebanon Trust

UNHCR visits Lebanon Trust at FAID

Matt Saltmarsh, spokesman of the UN Refugee Agency in Beirut, with colleague Lisa Abou Khaled and photographer Haidar Darwish spent a morning with us during our stay in Lebanon last October. They interviewed Lebanon Trust’s Christy and Laura and FAID’s Gladys; visited the the Audiology department, where audiologist Nemer illustrated his work and demonstrated his equipment; had a tour of all the classrooms with Lina, Academic director, and were cheered by all the children; then had a conversation with Toufic Takchi, chairman of FAID’s Board. A memorable day for all involved. Thank you Matt, Lisa and Haidar!

The UNHCR delegation visiting the Audiology department at FAID.

The UNHCR delegation visiting the Audiology department at FAID.

Matthew Saltmarsh of UNHCR interviews Lebanon Trust and FAID staff

Matthew Saltmarsh of UNHCR interviews Lebanon Trust and FAID staff

Matt Saltmarsh (UNHCR) interviews FAID's Chairman Toufic Takchi

Matt Saltmarsh (UNHCR) interviews FAID’s Chairman Toufic Takchi

FAID's founder Father Andeweg's portrait, flanked by Lina, FAID's Academic director, and Christy, Lebanon Trust's chairman

FAID’s founder Father Andeweg’s portrait, flanked by Lina, FAID’s Academic director, and Christy, Lebanon Trust’s chairman