ATFL Series: Voices of Healing – Ajialouna Organization
This is the first of an ATFL series highlighting Lebanese and US organizations carrying out important humanitarian efforts in Lebanon and resource mobilization in the US. The first organization we’ll be featuring is Ajialouna. It is a women-led nonprofit organization engaged in charitable, cultural, social, healthcare, and educational programs. Founded in Beirut in March 1995, Ajialouna’s mandate is to serve the local Lebanese community as a whole. For over 25 years, Ajialouna has been committed to supporting less privileged individuals, believing that all people deserve to have equal access to good health, social security and educational opportunities, improve their standard of living, and increase their awareness to strive towards education, health, and financial stability.
Since its establishment, Ajialouna has grown to focus its efforts through its programs primarily across the areas of health, health awareness, education, social aid, and women’s empowerment.
According to Ajialouna staff member Maya Makkawi, the organization has grown its programs on humanitarian health and social welfare needs to respond to the pandemic and the toll of the Beirut Port blast. Ajialouna, like many other organizations we will feature, recognizes that the public and private health systems are unable to cope with the stress of the increased rates of infections. These have been growing recently due to the lifting of precautions during the holidays. In the first week of January alone, Lebanon recorded a significant 57% increase in the number of cases compared to the prior week. New cases exceed 5,000 every day with deaths approaching 2,000, a 44.4% increase during that same period (January 4-10).
Ajialouna’s organizational structure consists of a Board of Trustees made up of 10 members and an administrative body of 92 female volunteers. These volunteers have expertise in various fields including engineering, medicine, pharmacy, education, administration, and others. Ajialouna also has 35 employees, mostly female breadwinners of their households.
They are driven by a desire to provide services to a larger area in Lebanon by introducing new centers and programs. It efforts rely on the perseverance and the exceptional spirit of solidarity and teamwork of its members, staff, and female volunteers. They are dedicated to promoting and improving access to education and work opportunities to the growing number of Lebanon’s underprivileged.
In the past 16 years, the volunteers have worked hard to establish and sustain 16 programs. These programs fall under one of five departments: Health, Health Awareness, Social, Women’s Empowerment, Education, as well as Fundraising. Programs are funded by grants provided by generous individuals, companies, and sponsors as well as through Ajialouna’s fundraising activities.
Ajialouna’s recent fundraising appeal lists specific medical equipment, medications, vitamin supplements, and other supplies needed to ensure a proper standard of healthcare continuity of treatment for patients.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon.