Daughters of Charity Support Struggling School Children in Lebanon

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Daughters of Charity

Karem El Zeitoun, where the Daughters of Charity dispensary is located, is a popular and cosmopolitan district of Beirut, Lebanon. Many low-income families are bearing the full brunt of the economic and social crisis the country is going through. There has been a 90% loss of the value of the Lebanese pound since the end of 2019. The confinements of COVID-19 and the explosion of the port [on August 4th, 2020, the port area of Beirut was rocked by two massive explosions] have further worsened the living conditions of the Lebanese, especially in this district.

As wages remain unchanged and prices explode, more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. Families are no longer able to pay their children’s tuition. Enrollment in schools fell from 60% in 2021 to 43% in 2022 according to a recent UNICEF report. Teachers ask to be paid in U.S. dollars [due to the instability of the Lebanese pound] to continue to teach and to pay for their commutes, which have become very expensive with the price of gasoline.

Sister Rita El Khoury explains, “Education is under attack in this country. Learning gaps are increasing, which is why we wanted to support children in these difficult times by giving them tutoring. For this, we have set up tutoring sessions with the help of 5 young students (former students of our semi-free Saint Charles school, which welcomes children from modest families). [Editor’s note: “Semi-free” schools are supposed to receive a subsidy from the Lebanese State, with the other half of tuition being provided by the parents. But the State hasn’t paid anything in several years (Source: enseignement-catholique.fr. The semi-free school population comes from urban and rural areas with limited incomes.]

We had plans to welcome 70 children for this year, divided into two classrooms, one above the dispensary and another in the neighborhood, but the owner of the second one was asking us for rent of 300 dollars per month, which we obviously could not do. So we had to do without that place and scale back our expectations, welcoming only about 20 children.

We also took the children to summer camp to occupy them during the school holidays while continuing to give them tutoring in anticipation of the start of the school year.


The camp took in 30 children aged 7 to 12 last summer and given its success, it seemed even more important to us to continue to provide evening study once the school year began. This started in October. 70 children come to participate in various activities throughout the year and 25 of them benefit from the evening study, given their difficulty with school.

A salaried employee is in charge, helped by a French volunteer, Sister Mary Hanna, DC and three young college students. The student employees take turns according to their university schedules.

Simon, a 9-year-old boy welcomed to the evening study, feels uncomfortable at school, which is sad to see, but we are happy to be able to support him in his difficulties. He told us recently “I came to study, not to play”.

The story of a young man named Christ also deserves to be told. He had difficulty reading Arabic or French text fluently and confused the sounds. To help him, we set up a daily review of sounds and letters, thanks to printed labels that he can move around to form words; reading, copying and dictation sessions with illustrated cards; and letter writing worksheets. Through these techniques, we were able to move forward with Christ. We also noticed that he needed a psychomotor therapist follow-up, and provided him with psychomotor and speech therapy sessions at our dispensary.

This project would not have been possible without your help.

On behalf of each family of Karem El Zeitoun, we would like to express our most sincere gratitude and thanks. Your unwavering support allows us to keep hope alive and to continue to carry out our mission despite the difficult context in which we live.

The whole community of the Daughters of Charity as well as the employees of the CPMI (Centre de Protection Maternelle et Infantile) join me in thanking you from the bottom of my heart for the help you bring to these young people.

Be assured of our prayers and God bless you.

Source: Projets Rosalie