31 De Vere Gardens
London W8 5AW
Letter from Professor Ian Linden, CMG
Following our earlier correspondence, I hope that you, your family, friends and colleagues are safe. All over the world people are looking with shock but at the same time also a deep sense of solidarity with the people of Lebanon as they face yet another struggle after the horrific events of August 4th. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the injured, the homeless, those that are in the front line of providing critical assistance, and ordinary people in their thousands who are doing what they can to help and so provide us with an example that out of despair also emerge the best human qualities.
Against this background the economic situation in Lebanon continues to deteriorate dramatically with the inevitable impact on unemployment. TCCT continues to focus on the impact on the education sector consistent with its mission, and how this will affect the increasing numbers of disadvantaged children enrolled in this vital Afterschool Program managed by our partners at Caritas Lebanon.
As yet the Lebanese Government has not confirmed the re-opening of schools. The date will of course be dependent on the evolution of Covid-19 which mercifully, so far, has had less of an impact on the Lebanese population, including on refugee communities, than was originally feared and on the impact of the events of 4th August.The pressure to re-open the schools is increasing from across the political and educational spectrum. What is starting to emerge is the sheer scale of the collapse in disposable income of many families and their ability to finance the private education of their children.It is estimated that the already stressed public education system will have to find extra places for more than 50,000 children from this sector alone, and others forming part of the normal increase in enrolment that includes refugees. This will undoubtedly significantly increase the pressure on the children enrolled in the Afterschool Program.
Caritas Lebanon’s resources are stretched to breaking point as it struggles to meet its increasing obligations across a wide range of fronts under the leadership of its recently-elected young president, Rev Fr Michel Abboud, who has expressed continuing support for the work of the Trust. The importance of the Afterschool Program and its vital work in both protecting and maintaining in education the currently enrolled 400 Lebanese and refugee children rated as high risk of dropping out by their public schools against such a dramatic background should not be underestimated. It is the aim of the TCCT to assist in the expansion further development of this program and we continue to ask for your support.To put it in context it costs US$1.9 a day to keep a failing child in the program for twelve months including Summer School. A donation from your organisation of US$18,000.00 will fund an entire centre of 100 children for one month.
Lastly, I would like to give you an update on the work of the TCCT which I hope you will find useful. Despite the extremely difficult conditions under which we launched our appeal several months ago, we have reached out to more than eighty foundations across the world. We continue to maintain contact with these foundations and to expand our reach to others. TCCT is encouraged that its message has not fallen on deaf ears and has started to receive donations for which we are profoundly grateful.
We are also pleased to announce the appointment of a new Trustee, Beatrice Morrisson, who will also fill the important role of Secretary of the Trust. Beatrice is a good example of the intention of the Trustees to broaden the selection process to include the younger generation and draw from them the energy, new ideas and skills so vital to our work.
I look forward to keeping you periodically informed of our progress and to your continuing support.
With best wishes,