The initiative is now in its ninth year and is of particular importance this year, amid the grave economic crisis. In the past, the association promoting the event has helped the victims of the port explosion and families in difficulty for Covid. Dalia Dagher: We need to "save lives".
Beirut (AsiaNews) - With multiple crises afflicting Lebanon, from school problems to health care shortcomings, initiatives like the Telethon Lebanon are "vital", this year more so than in the past. Dalia Dagher, a famous Lebanese journalist, presenter and producer, known in the Land of the Cedars for many successful programmes, spoke to AsiaNews about the solidarity drive scheduled for tomorrow, 23 December, and now in its ninth year.
The promoter of the event she explains "we have decided to investigate the clinical cases of some of the poorest and most needy people", in a context of constant challenge "due to lack of medicines and economic problems".
The solidarity marathon, from 5 p.m. to midnight will be broadcast by OTV and hosted by Dagher, famous for her radio and television shows and for having founded the association "The roofs of Beirut", of which she is also president. Since the first edition in 2013, she adds, Telethon Lebanon's audience "has grown" as has "its generosity", which this year, as never before, has been severely tested by an economic crisis that has impoverished the country in every sector of society.
Supporting the health sector, as AsiaNews is doing for the education sector with our campaign in favour of Catholic schools, is essential to "rebuild the nation of Lebanon around values and parameters common" to the entire country, for Christians and Muslims, Shiites and Sunnis.
Dalia Dagher (pictured with the Maronite patriarch) said that the solidarity initiative is based on a "message of love" for the nation and a concrete act to prevent "its collapse", starting with healthcare. In recent years, Roofs of Beirut has covered the costs of more than 200 specific medical operations or treatments.
With the #TogetherAgainstCovid campaign, in March 2020, faced with the new and very serious needs that emerged with the pandemic, the association distributed over 20,000 food parcels to families in need. Similar initiatives were set up following the double explosion at the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, when "Roofs of Beirut" contributed to the reconstruction of at least 50 destroyed houses and supported those who had lost everything.
As the Lebanese ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, recalled on 10 December during a meeting organised by the association, the two pillars on which the country of the cedars rests are "education and health". Hence the need to take every possible initiative to protect these two essential factors for the development of society, which has never been in such difficulty as it is today due to the economic crisis and currency devaluation. Estimates for 2021 speak of a public debt equal to 341% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
For the 2021 edition, the organisers have selected 10 cases that are particularly critical, both in terms of the seriousness of the disease and the need of the families affected: among these is the story of little Omar, seven years old, from the Akkar region, who has been suffering for months from metastatic stomach cancer, which requires specific medical treatment at a monthly cost of almost 30,000 euros. And then there is 11-year-old Charbel, who suffers from hemihypertrophy and needs an urgent operation costing more than €40,000. "It's all about saving lives," concludes Dalia Dagher, a mission that requires everyone's support, especially at Christmas time.
This political, social and economic crisis swamping Lebanon that has prompted AsiaNews to launch a fundraising campaign for the benefit of Catholic schools, to support and guarantee at least the right to study for children and young people. Below please information on how you can support the cause.
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