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A New Fundraiser Aims to Save Lebanon’s Crucial Education System from Collapsing

Photo: Courtesy of Beit el Baraka

A new fundraiser launches today with the aim of saving the education system in Lebanon before it collapses. Named Forsa, the initiative is a result of Lebanon-based non-profit Beit el Baraka‘s partnership with Murex, a FinTech solutions company co-founded by Lebanese entrepreneur Salim Edde.

The collaboration recognizes the education sector as one of the most important pillars of Lebanon’s growth, and one that has been severely affected by the country’s economic crisis, Covid-19 and the Beirut Blast. According to the non-profit, more than 400,000 students who were once in good schools will no longer be able to continue their studies. “Since the dawn of time, Lebanon shone as a beacon of education,” shares Maya Ibrahimchah, Beit el Baraka’s founder and CEO. “The seat of the earliest law school in the world (238-551 AD) has nurtured the greatest minds, and ever since, Lebanon has ranked as the main cultural hub in the region. Protecting our education sector is the only way to build a future that commemorates our history.”

By helping Lebanese private schools, Forsa will work towards saving the country’s education sector, which if fails, could affect “700,000 students, 59,000 teachers, and 15,000 school administrators,” and have long-term repercussions on the country’s GDP. Donations will go towards the program finding solutions for parents to educate their children, for teachers to continue working, and for schools to remain open.

Maya Ibrahimchah photographed by Tarek Moukaddem for Vogue Arabia

Beit El Baraka is one of the many organizations at the forefront of crisis relief in Lebanon and aiding Lebanese retirees and children in financial distress by providing healthy food, decent livelihood, medical services, and education. Learn more about the fundraiser and how you can help from Beit el Baraka founder Ibrahimchah.

Why was this fundraiser crucial?

Education is one of Lebanon’s foundational pillars.  It has always been one of the country’s most important assets and one of the world’s education hubs. It has also nurtured brilliant minds on which the country’s success has relied. We cannot let this sector crumble and be the victim of a pandemic and a transient economic crisis. Without the minds and the promise of educated youth, the country cannot recover. Around 400,000 students are threatened with longer being able to continue their education in Lebanon today and this fundraiser was crucial to bridge the gap until middle-class parents can regain the jobs they lost.

Why the name Forsa?

“Forsa” is the Arabic word for “chance” in English and was chosen as we are offering a chance for students to pursue their education, a chance for teachers to continue their noble mission, a chance for schools to persist and keep their doors open, and a chance for our country to rise again.

The name also refers to the “class break,” where children have the space to dream big about their aspirations in life, something the Forsa program aims to allow for them.

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Tell us more about the campaign video. Is there something you learned from the testimonies that you were previously unaware of?

The campaign video depicts the reality in Lebanon, reflecting the challenges faced by the triangle “schools-teachers-students”, which has sunk into a vicious circle due to the situation, which Forsa aims at reversing. During the campaign and our school visits, we learned a very sad reality where children go to school to eat, not only to get an education, because, at home, they no longer have access to decent food. Also, we discovered the vulnerability of our great teachers in this situation who unfortunately have no means anymore to sustain their own livelihood, which is why we have to act immediately through Forsa to remedy that, otherwise, we will be losing a pool of outstandingly talented assets, without whom, education is a lost cause.

What are the short-term and long-term goals of this fundraiser?

In the short term, this fundraiser will help Lebanese private schools transition to an unprecedented economic crisis and mitigate the devastating impacts of the sector’s collapse, by aiming at putting back 400,000 students to school. To date, the program vetted 32,000 students, a number we hope to expand respectively with the donations we receive throughout the program.

In the long run, the program will allow saving an entire generation, whose lack of education can have long-term repercussions on the country’s GDP. We also hope that the long-term goal of Forsa is to pave the way for a future where donations are not needed anymore to ensure education for our children.  

What brought about this partnership with Murex?

Knowing that Beit el Baraka is an NGO that strives to assist the most vulnerable segments of the society, mainly the elderly and children, ensuring their basic rights, education constitutes one of the NGO’s main battles today. On the other hand, Murex is one of the biggest financial technology solution companies in the world, which has long supported the Lebanese educational system. Hence, the partnership came to life as an outcome of Salim Edde’s great responsiveness and enthusiasm to Beit El Baraka’s fundraising idea, developing exponentially with the joined ambition and skillsets of both parties.

Donations can be made via or by depositing a cheque to Beit el Baraka in Beirut. 

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