Lebanon

Lebanon: Supporting families suffering after explosion

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Salesian Mission Office in Turin, Italy, helped 189 families in Beirut after 2020 explosion

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Mission Office (Missioni Don Bosco) in Turin, Italy, has been instrumental in helping to support families in Beirut, Lebanon, who were impacted by the explosion on Aug. 4, 2020. To date, Salesians have helped 189 families with basic necessities, food and medicine, hospitality, and economic assistance. These families were among those whose homes or workplaces suffered considerable damage.

Lebanon, already devastated by a long socio-political and economic crisis, suffered a huge catastrophe. The explosion, possibly caused by a fire inside an abandoned ammonium nitrate deposit in the port of Beirut, destroyed the entire surrounding area and most of the adjacent neighborhoods.

During the first two days after the explosion, the flow of ambulances was constant, and the capital’s hospitals were in crisis. The health system, already strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, struggled with a lack of electricity and medical supplies. The support sent by the Salesian Mission Office in the immediate aftermath aimed to alleviate and mitigate the socio-economic impact, sense of loss, and upheaval following everything that happened.

In addition to the basic supplies and shelter, Salesians provided scholarships for 41 Lebanese students to attend Don Bosco Technique Institute in Al Fidar. The institute is one of the area’s few professional institutes in the region and welcomes youth who have difficulties attending school. The goal is to provide them education and social support so they remain in school and gain the skills needed for employment.

Don Bosco Technique Institute offers many programs for youth including mechanics, electrical installations, hairdressing and computer science. One of the institute’s most praised and sought-after programs is focused on training students for catering and hotel work. There is a large employment sector across the world for graduates who want this kind of employment.

“Technical education helps ensure youth have an opportunity to gain an education and graduate with employable skills,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work, they are knowledgeable of market conditions and what employment sectors are the most advantageous for employment. The scholarships provided will go a long way to ensure youth that have overcome challenges are able to gain an education”