On August 27, roughly three weeks after the massive explosion that rocked Beirut — killing over 200, displacing hundreds of thousands, and causing billions in damage — I landed in Lebanon. I had one goal: find the right group of people to team up with to help affected families.
This was not a simple task. Within hours of the explosion, numerous groups and organizations descended on Beirut. Identifying an effective partner required careful vetting, local know-how, and a network of experts and enablers to lean on for help and advice.
After several weeks of working with local friends, supporters, and the US embassy team, I found what I was looking for.
Baytna Baytak (“our home is your home”) is a humanitarian organization that is the driving force behind Basecamp, a group of NGOs that pooled their resources to provide comprehensive services more efficiently. Made up of hard-charging, dynamic, progressive Lebanese, Baytna Baytak is fixing homes and bringing damaged neighborhoods back to life.
I’m proud to share that Spirit of America has committed to providing $56,000 in funding for Baytna Baytak. Our support will accomplish the following:
- Facilitate damage assessments and/or repairs for 2,000 homes
- Provide pro bono legal representation for up to 150 low-income individuals
- Enable the operational integration of Basecamp NGOs, including Baytna Baytak, so they can help families more efficiently and effectively
Earlier this week, I checked in on one of the Baytna Baytak teams as they repaired windows and doors in a damaged home in Beirut. I invite you to watch this short video I made while at the house.
What is not in the video is my exchange with the homeowner as I was departing. Her dark eyes beaming with joy, she told me, “This is amazing. Many groups offer to help but they don’t. I did not think this was real. These are hard times for us. But I’m thankful.”
Without you, Spirit of America cannot do what we do. For that, our entire team is grateful.
Lebanon is an important partner for the US in the Middle East. During these hard times, help us showcase the American spirit of generosity and bring smiles to more faces in Beirut. Please donate now.
Regional Director – Middle East and Central Asia