The COVID-19 pandemic, has without doubt, challenged educational institutions in Lebanon, that were already suffering due to social unrest, the economic crisis and the blast which took place on August 4, 2020, in Beirut.
Behind the scenes, organizations have been powering relief efforts to respond to these challenges. The rebuilding of schools, donating laptops and providing financial aid and scholarships, to name a few, were on top of many NGOs’ agendas. However, there is still much more work to be done, according to Alphabetical Order.
In Lebanon, an estimated 70% of students are enrolled in private schools. Tuition rates, in general, are relatively high, and due to numerous unfortunate events, families already classified as underprivileged, found themselves in extreme poverty. Educating their children took second place to ensuring the basic needs and survival of their families.
However, given the devaluation of the Lebanese Lira, and with foreign aid being channeled through reputable organizations, there is a case to be made for increasing fundraising efforts internationally. Previously, the typical annual tuition fees leveled out at LBP 6,000,000 per student; an equivalent USD 4,000 back then. Today, due to the dramatic fall of the Lebanese currency, the same annual tuition for a child will cost an international donor a mere USD 600. This puts it within the reach of more Lebanese expatriates to get involved and sponsor a child. Perhaps a silver lining.
Alphabetical Order, an organization that strongly believes in the power of education to enhance societies and improve overall wellbeing, was founded in late 2019, to provide opportunities to those most in need. Through its carefully designed donation models and sponsor a child schemes, children can be educated sustainably.
“Education within itself is a sustainable angle, as it allows children to grow and become self-supporting and develop independent critical thinking,” shares Michael Chidiac, chair of the board of trustees of Alphabetical Order.
What does sustainability in educational support mean?
Alphabetical Order, powered by its dedicated team, volunteers and trustees, have prepared a longer-term strategy. They raise and manage funds on an ongoing basis, in order to provide an education for many children in need. Support is planned on a multi-year basis thereby accompanying school children on their educational journeys.
To date, many donors have joined and supported the cause. In fact, in only 4 months, Alphabetical Order was able to raise USD 130,000. Part of these funds (USD 45,000) were used to rebuild school theatre facilities at Collège Sacré Coeur-Frères Gemmayzé, which was heavily damaged by the blast. The remaining sums have gone towards creating and rolling out educational programs. To date, close to 200 students have been supported by Alphabetical Order.
However, these milestones are only the start for Alphabetical Order. The organization plans to enhance its fund and reserves to provide the gift of education to more students in the coming years.
In addition, Alphabetical Order is planning to increase the number of schools that it currently provides aid to. To date, the organization has sponsored 5 schools, dispersed in 5 different governorates, the South, the North, the Bekaa, Beirut and Mount-Lebanon. It plans to increase its coverage in the coming year.
“If we can secure representation in each of the 8 governorates, we can ensure that our sponsored schools will create diversification and equal opportunities in a cross-sectarian manner,” shares Chidiac. “We want all Lebanese, no matter their beliefs or opinions, to have the chance to receive an education,” he adds.
Explore the schools that Alphabetical Order support, and suggest a school here.