Since last year, Lebanon has suffered economic collapse, social unrest, the Beirut blast, and the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world. In light of the turmoil of the country, Lebanese designer, Elie Saab has pledged to donate to a cause dedicated to vulnerable children in his hometown of Beirut, via an initiative with UNICEF Lebanon.
Celebrating his eponymous fashion house’s 10-year anniversary, Elie Saab Parfums will be donating a portion of sales to UNICEF’s “Integrated Education and Well-Being for Vulnerable Girls in Lebanon Program,” to ensure that high-risk adolescent girls have access to education and other necessities.
In a statement about the initiative, Saab said, “I admire UNICEF’s mission in supporting the most vulnerable clusters and providing a solid platform to young people. During these difficult times and in this competitive world, we should raise resilient children to be prepared for a brighter future.”
The program helmed by UNICEF helps to provide access to education, gender and domestic violence related cases, protection, health services for teens such as mental health care and social assistance and a step into a stable future with a skills development and employability program.
Elie Saab also added, “By giving them the time and opportunities, they need, teaching them the right skills and empowering them, they will cultivate good qualities and secure better lives. Sometimes, a rough childhood can mold children into leaders with big inspirational life lessons.”
Whilst Elie Saab is not the only Lebanese native to take up charitable causes in the wake of social and environmental disaster, he is the latest. Following the devastating Beirut blast which took place on August 4th 2020, fellow Lebanese couturier, Zuhair Murad, released a t-shirt with the words “Rise From The Ashes” written on it, with 100% of the sales proceeds going to Offrejoie, a Lebanese NGO.
With all that Lebanon has been suffering in the past year, poverty has struck many children with almost no access to health services or education, often forcing them into exploitative situations, child labor and even forced child marriage.