As you probably know, a terrible explosion took place in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020. The explosion killed more than 180 people and injured more than 6,000. One of the largest industrial accidents in history, the blast destroyed entire neighborhoods and sent dust and rubble miles away from the port where it originated. In addition to the deaths and injuries, the accident rendered about 300,000 people homeless, and caused material damage for an estimated cost ranging from 10 to 15 billion dollars.
Homes, hospitals, businesses, schools, universities, mosques, and churches have been destroyed or rendered unusable.
Among them are Saint-Joseph University and the Notre Dame de Nazareth School, two top institutions whose facilities have been seriously damaged by the accident, preventing them from resuming classes in the foreseeable future. In response, our friends at the Harvard Alumni Association in Lebanon have set up a fundraiser to support both institutions as they make repairs.
It is often difficult when faced with such an event to know exactly what to do or how to best contribute and help those most affected. In this case, as often, supporting local actors financially is probably one of the best ways to help from abroad. Accordingly, numerous organizations have set up special appeals for the benefit of the victims of the blast (see for instance the Lebanese Red Cross, UNICEF, or Save the Children, among others).
We at the Francophone Society believe that one of the most meaningful ways to contribute is to support these two educational institutions through this initiative by the Harvard Alumni Association in Lebanon.
Before the blast, Lebanon was already in crisis and facing enormous social, political, and economic challenges; training a new set of citizens and leaders through education will be critical in order to overcome these challenges and rebuild the country.