This article was published by An-Nahar newspaper on May 31st, 2021 in a Special Edition for NGOs in Lebanon.
Al Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association of Beirut is a humanitarian association established in 1878 with services distributed over three main sectors: education, health and social affairs.
It is involved in educating the child and youth, providing prevention and treatment as well as taking care of women and the elderly through various projects that meet the needs of society.
The association started with the opening of a school for girls in the same year and due to the high demand from Beirut families, a second school for has opened. Makassed continued to expand with more schools, specialized technical institute and a university to give better opportunities of education for all.
Today, Makassed runs 13 schools, a vocational center, and Makassed University of Beirut which includes the Faculty of Islamic Studies and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. In terms of health, it runs a hospital, four primary healthcare centers and three mobile clinics offering high-quality healthcare to all social groups.
On the social level, Makassed Volunteers Unit was established in 2001 to empower young people and ensure their proper integration in society; today, the number of volunteers has reached 750 young men and women. This unit carries out community service projects and aims to develop the youth’s personality through trainings and participation in community activities.
In 2014, Ward Al Makassed Center for women and youth empowerment was established in Tariq Al Jadideh area in Beirut as one of a kind social development center aiming to eliminate illiteracy and develop the capabilities of youth and women, especially underprivileged women through trainings for skills’ development to start selling their food and handicraft products in the market.
Al Makassed follows a strategic plan and implementation through a timetable according to each sector. The aim is to develop its facilities and improve its humanitarian, educational and social services.
At the hospital, departments are renovated and equipped with the best machines and tools, number of beds has increased to accommodate more patients, moreover the healthcare centers are well arranged to welcome social groups not able to afford the cost of hospital treatments.
On the education level, Al Makassed always seeks to develop programs, win certificates and international accreditations, strengthen partnerships with educational institutions locally and globally. Makassed University of Beirut is currently offering studies in the field of nursing and islamic religion.
Socially, the association will not hesitate to support the community by distributing food parcels, clothes and stationery to needy families in Beirut, Bekaa and the North, to reduce the level of poverty amongst Lebanese and refugees. It also seeks to empower Lebanese and Arab women to develop their skills and integrate in society.
The association is trying hard to reach the poorest segment of society who doesn’t have a monthly income especially in light of the deteriorating economic conditions in the country. Al Makassed also aims to reduce school dropouts by assisting students through scholarship programs. Al Makassed doesn’t delay in supporting patients suffering from chronic diseases at the hospital and healthcare centers by providing chronic medicines, vaccines, primary healthcare services and continuous follow-up especially for the elderly.
The revenues coming out from the health, education sectors and some collective properties are not sufficient to provide basic services to the community. Therefore, Al Makassed has strengthened the Development and Fundraising Unit to obtain financial and in-kind assistance from various parties, whether from individuals or international organizations concerned with humanitarian work. The association receives funds from everyone ready to help, and recently a donation link has been added to the website as an opportunity for expatriates to donate and save Lebanon in such unprecedented times.