One year passed on the Beirut blast. A moment stuck in the memory of every Lebanese. On 4 August, 2020, the explosion that shattered Beirut took the lives of 217 individuals and left the country bleeding.
World Vision, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), supported the individuals affected by the blast through psycho-social support sessions for children and cash assistance for the families.
Rana, a 33-year-old mother of three, lives in Sin el Fil. She came back home on 5 August after spending the day before with her family in the mountains. Her eyes filled with tears when she appeared in the neighbourhood, "As soon as we parked and I saw what state the neighbourhood was in, I could not hold my tears," she explains.
As soon as she entered her home, she started scouting the damage, and all she could think about was, "What if my children were home? What would have happened to them?" she says. With all the shattered glass, Rana was able to fix her home at a very high cost, which left the family, already suffering financially, with more burdens and not being able to provide their basic needs. One of the major needs they have is to regularly buy medication for in-laws. "Both of them suffer from chronic diseases. Thanks to this cash assistance we are receiving, my husband can now breath a bit," she affirms.
Arriving home right after the blast to check on everyone was one of the most horrible memories in Therese's mind. The mother of two boys came home from work to check on her parents and cannot remember anything but the blood that spread downstairs. "My father injured his leg severely and no hospital was able to treat him, so I had to apply my basic nursing experience to stitch his wounds," she recalls. With both of her children being far away with her in-laws, Therese's only concern at that time was to take care of her elderly parents. "We are surviving on in-kinds, but thanks to this assistance we were able to pay overdue rent and get my parents their medications", Therese explains.
For Khalil, the little eight years old boy, coming to the centre to attend the sessions is like his safe place. Having to work with his father in the fresh market every day by unpacking and delivering groceries leaves Khalil with little time to play and enjoy his childhood. Therefore, the centre came as the perfect opportunity for fun, "I can see my friends here, and I enjoy the activities", he admits.
Lea, seven, still cannot quite understand what happened on August 4th, "I remember hearing a loud noise and seeing my father injured", she says. After the explosion, she started attending World Vision’s psycho-social support sessions at a centre near her home, "I like the teachers, they are so nice, and I like to come here to draw and learn", she explains.
Rawan, ten, wants to be a hairdresser like her mother when she grows up. "I come here to learn new stuff, it is important to learn so we can work,” Rawan explains. At the time of the explosion, Rawan was home, five minutes away from the port. To this day, she can still remember vividly that moment, "Our door flew from one room to the other", she describes.
"I love everything about this place", says Yasmine. For this ten years old girl, coming here gives her joy and ease. Being surrounded by colours and other children is her favourite time of the day.