We don’t usually relate recycling to helping deaf children, but at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) in Lebanon, a project involving plastic bottle caps is doing just that. The children and administrators at FAID have started collecting plastic bottles caps. For every 600,000 caps they collect, the school recycles them for money that is used to buy a new hearing aid for a needy child in attendance, many of whom are Syrian refugee children. In addition to collecting bottle caps to purchase hearing aids, FIAD is also using the empty plastic bottles, as well as old car tires, to paint and decorate for a sensory garden for the children as part of the recycling project.
Renowned for its towering cedar trees, Lebanon boasts fertile valleys; snow-capped, ore-rich mountains; and – in a region where water is scarce – sixteen rivers that flow into the glistening Mediterranean Sea along Lebanon’s western coast. This small Middle Eastern country has an incredibly rich culture, evincing the influence of such illustrious civilizations as the Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman Turk, and French. However, Lebanon’s wealth of diversity has also contributed to its turbulent history.
Lebanon continues to suffer repercussions of a history riddled with wars – both civil and international. Poverty, unemployment, and the ever-present threat of war are tragic realities here. These are, perhaps, most pronounced in Beirut, the nation’s capital. Settled over 5,000 years ago, this historic city is Lebanon’s largest and primary seaport, but it is also afflicted with dire poverty and its socioeconomic effects.
Helping children cope with hearing loss
Needy children in Beirut not only face hardships when it comes to living in poverty, but those that attend FAID are also afflicted with the complications of their disability. Founded in 1957, FAID provides deaf children with a basic education, as well as with specialized training, to enable students to become self-sufficient. The school plays a crucial role in giving these hearing-impaired – and often destitute – children the opportunity to rise above the challenging circumstances that they face.
Currently, there are twenty Syrian refugee children registered at the school; and despite the difficulties that supporting them all financially presents, projects such as the recycling program and support from Children Incorporated sponsors are crucial to these vulnerable children receiving an education.