Planting seeds of hope
NGO Shifaa and the Beirut Alumni Chapter come together with LAU Associate Professor and renowned theater director Lina Abiad to help families in need.
Over 400 children from orphanages across Lebanon attended the last presentation that was dedicated to them.
The children, aged between 8 and 11, study at College Protestant Francais and International College, among others.
The audience cheers, while many wish the play would continue touring in Lebanon and outside the country.
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More than 1,400 people came to LAU Beirut to attend Sanaghrisouha, the fruit of this year’s collaboration between the NGO Shifaa, the LAU Alumni-Beirut Chapter, and theater director Associate Professor Lina Abiad.
This is the fourth annual project carried out jointly by the NGO and the alumni group. As in previous years, the proceeds will go to cover scholarships at LAU as well as blood donations and pediatric surgeries for needy families. “So far, we have raised $45,697 and covered numerous blood donations and surgeries,” enthused Dona Hamoui, president of the Shifaa junior group, thanking LAU’s Alumni Relations Office for the great help they provided again this year.
For Bashir Sakka, president of the LAU Alumni Beirut Chapter, the cooperation with Shifaa is “an indication of trust and a confirmation of the important role that associations play in our society.” He added that the annual work distinguishes itself by its religious content and its noble target to reflect the real and civilized image of Islam while helping the needy through its proceeds.
Sanaghrisouha’s goal is to encourage every individual, regardless of their age and background, to lend a helping hand to make the world a better place through the simplest actions. With Lebanon’s trash crisis as a background — a theme chosen by the participating children — the play denounces individualism and selfishness while promoting the values of respect toward nature, toward the other, peace building, community support and collective interest.
A choir of 35 youngsters directed by Yasmina Sabbah chanted religious songs (anasheed) relating to the theme, intersecting with different scenes in which five actors — including three children — fight to protect a symbolic tree, inspired by the teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
“The point of this performance is to say that praying and fasting are not enough if not coupled with positive action,” explains Abiad. A non-religious person, Abiad was inspired by the Shifaa members with whom she has written the script. “I was very touched by these women. By their generosity and spirit of giving, of volunteering. They practice what they preach by giving their time through Shifaa and its on-going activities and by teaching children, including their children, how to give back too.”
Eight-year-old Malek Hamoui enjoyed singing in the choir accompanying the production. “We really want people to stop throwing garbage. If they stopped, Lebanon wouldn’t be so messy,” he says, adding how proud he was to take part in the performance.
To Abiad, this sense of pride and commitment was also another source of encouragement. “The children were so hard-working and dedicated, it was a pleasure working with them. They were our source of inspiration and motivation throughout.”
Dona Hamoui agrees: “There were times where we felt we wanted to give up — it was a long process and we are all volunteers at the end of the day — but the children never gave up and pushed us from beginning to end.”
And “Sanaghrisouha” succeeded in bringing seeds of hope to the wider community that came to see it in action. “This whole work is what Islam is really about,” said a woman to her child as the curtain came down.
Sponsors of the event included: Makhzoumi Foundation (Platinum Sponsor), Spartan (Gold Sponsor), Socrate (Silver sponsor), Amore cafe (Silver sponsor), Lumident (Silver sponsor), Salah Madhoun Foundation (Silver sponsor), Qabas (Silver sponsor), Bano Trading (Silver sponsor), Agrinet (Silver sponsor)