As the world mourns the catastrophe that has struck our beloved Lebanon, the Rotaract Mediterranean along with District 2452 chose to be the apostrophe that rebuilds the beautiful city of Beirut.. Although the crowd funding has been launched earlier, the Live Event of Beirut Stay strong wanted to zoom the world’s camera onto the street view of the disaster. Hosting speakers from all over the world, from various nationalities and vocations, to convey the idea of this specific crowd fund; while the world is sending medical supplies and expenses needed for the mere survival, how will the less fortunate rebuild their homes, their sanctuaries?
It’s one thing to host a worldwide event but it’s a completely different thing to have the support and endorsement from CEO and Secretary of Rotary International John Hewko in the flesh. His appearance and interest in such a way has warmed the hearts of Rotaractors experiencing firsthand the horrors following the unforgettable event. Mr Hewko stands as a testimonial of the solidarity of the massive entity that is Rotary around the world. A global vision on where Rotary stands today, the entire Rotary community was forced to move to an online platform.
“We knew the COVID-19 was going to spread to be a pandemic, and I’m glad we prepared. We found a number of issues until March 12th we moved completely online, we are here to support Rotaractors around the world as much as we did before. The message I want to leave is that Rotary as an organization, operationally we are very strong.”
Rotary International Director Katerina Kotsali-Papadimitrou not only adds to the impact of the presence of Rotary International, but also shares the impact felt by her peers all the way in Cyprus, extending even to herself in Greece; emphasizing the magnitude of the losses that must have struck those nearest to the event.
SOS Attitude and Disaster Aide Europe
Graced by the attendance of SOS Attitude’s President John Diksa comes the other side of the coin, the struggle with time in the era of COVID-19. To an organization that has gone through more than 70 deployments in the last 10 years, Mr Diska describes the frustration of the 48 hours pending for the arrangements and precautions in order to leave France. Equipped with SOS Attitude emergency shelter (tents) and more than 1,000 solar lights donated by the Schneider Electric Foundation, the task force launched with support of Rotary International and other organizations through Corporate Social Responsibility and the Scouts of Lebanon an operation to salvage the lives of our peers in Beirut.
“We can work alone, but we are better together”
Rotary Districts 2452 & 1700
Prominent Rotarian and Past District Governor of District 2452, Jamil Muawad has always been the backbone and the voice of Rotary in Lebanon, closely cooperating with Rotarians from around the world; he expresses thanks all over the world from Egypt across the globe to Australia and the United States. Mr Muawad sends warmth to the panic prevailing by ensuring that there is not just a plan, but a strategy to execute. The money may fuel the process, but the action is what will spark the resurrection of the beautiful city; global grants for Emergency Rooms and the ICU. District Governor of District 1700 Jacques Bernier emphasized the globality of the event. He shared that several Rotary Districts in France have been collaborating with Rotarians in Beirut and the Rotary Inter-Country Committee France-Liban to assess the situation in order to assist in the most effective ways, focusing on providing supplies to build an emergency on-site hospital.
Rotaract MDIO Leaders
Rotaract Medterranean President Astrid Viel, President of Rotaract Europe Mafalda Luis, Ried William Eyre all the way from MDIO Canada, joined by the President of MDIO Germany Nadia von Osterreich, in correspondence with Country Representative of Germany Katarina Weingarter have expressed eagerness and willingness to reach multiple thousands of Rotaractors in their communities. They are mainly aiming to raise funds for limited exported materials that are crucial to survival as well as reconstruction. Ms Viel cherished that this event has brought the board closer together working tirelessly to provide support. She also expressed immense gratitude to France for getting the accreditation to DRR of District 2452 Jelena Cetkovic who has gracefully hosted the event, providing endless support and dedication to the cause.
The youth of Lebanon have always been known to be courageous, unwavering and relentless when faced with challenges. Testimonials from survivors on the ground have moved all our souls, wreaking pain in our hearts with the havoc that has struck them.
“What guarantee do I have that when I get out of the house to go to work I’ll get there safe?”
“The cars broke down, no street was getting better and we had to walk there. There was no Betadine or gauze to tend to our wounds, they were evacuating people based on the gravity of their injuries and eventually those with flesh wounds got treated on the street.”
“What will it be like to come back to the office? Will my blood stains still be on the floor?”
The Rotaractors of Lebanon did not stand still, gathering from all across the country; mentioned by PDG Jamil Muawad was Deputy DRR Yasmina Assi’s sleepless nights in organizing and executing everything they can for those who need it the most.
According to Rotaract Mediterranean’s Vice President Jad Salame, so far Rotaractors on the ground have distributed and helped supply medical kits and food packages. More importantly, they have been working day and night to screen and scout wrecked homes and have a scrutinized list of the families that need their homes to be rebuilt. The priority is set to the less fortunate families both financially and according to the severity of the damage.
The funding has collected 17k Euros and continues until the 20th of September, follow this link to donate.
Every contribution will make a difference no matter how big or small, we count on your donations to make Beirut rise and shine again.
For Donation link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/BeirutStayStrong
Facebook Page for Project: https://www.facebook.com/BeirutStayStrong
Rotaract District 2452: https://www.facebook.com/RotaractDistrict2452
Rotaract Mediterranean: https://www.facebook.com/RotaractMediterranean
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BY Salma El-Assal