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A multicultural and multi-faith country par excellence, Lebanon has been trying to preserve its particularities, its traditions and its independence for centuries. The 20 to 30% of Lebanese Christians, proud descendants of Saint Maron and Saint Charbel, remain attached to France and the French, as shown by the still very important presence of the French language and French-speaking schools throughout the country.
However, the situation of the Lebanese continues to deteriorate: the Lebanese civil war, which lasted for 15 years, is still dragging its dramatic consequences in its wake. Bombings, explosions and Kalashnikov shootings have given way to political stagnation and an unprecedented economic crisis that has plunged Lebanon into chaos.
Similarly, the pressure exerted on Lebanon by successive waves of migration is destabilising the country and posing enormous economic, political and religious problems. In addition to the four million Lebanese, there are now over two million Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
In this context, on 20 July 2014, the first volunteers of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient began their missions to support the poorest Lebanese families.
In Beirut, in the villages of the Bekaa and finally in Tripoli, the association’s teams are violently confronted with the lack of food, political disorder, mass unemployment, the economic crisis and the absence of competent health structures…
On the front line of the crisis that are shaking the country, they are witnessing the dramatic explosion of the port of Beirut, the collapse of the Lebanese pound and the health crisis linked to Covid-19. The Lebanese are now ruined and must choose between health care and food.
Action is urgently needed. Exceptional funds are released and missions are intensified. In Tripoli and Beirut, volunteers are serving the most vulnerable in dispensaries, schools and hospitals. In the devastated capital, they are joining Lebanese volunteers to rebuild the Medawar neighbourhood, which was heavily destroyed by the 4 August 2020 explosion.
In Rmeich, Qaa and many other small towns in the Bekaa, the country’s granary and garden, the mission is developing numerous agricultural and craft support and funding projects to prevent the rural exodus, the disappearance of crops and mass unemployment. These actions are aimed primarily at the poorest Lebanese populations, Christians living in the peripheral and isolated areas of the Bekaa plain, the Akkar mountains or in South Lebanon.
In addition to all this, the volunteers make a huge contribution to the education network in Lebanon. By giving their time in schools, summer camps, orphanages or in local associations, volunteers contribute to the influence and maintenance of the French-speaking world, but also and above all to the Francophile education of the youngest generations of Lebanese who will have to raise their beautiful and ancient country, which is now only a shadow of its former self.