In the scenic mountain village of Bikfaya in Mount Lebanon resides the headquarters of a noble organization known as Kibarouna ("our elderly"), officially known as Elder's Care and Protection.
Founded in 2005 by its president Mrs. Henriette Haddad, the organization's primary goal is to help Lebanon's elderly community lead a dignified and fulfilling life after their long life stages of raising a family and working into retirement.
Having recognized how many members of the elderly community suffer from feelings of loneliness, inability, and marginalization, Mrs. Haddad created Kibarouna with a small group of supporters who shared her concern for the seniors in Lebanon.
The organization initiated with the main goal to help, in many aspects, this overlooked Lebanese demographic overcome these obstacles, which "can be detrimental to their psychic, moral, and physical health," Mrs. Haddad rightfully said.
"For us, an elderly person is someone who has sacrificed a great deal throughout his/her life...," Mrs. Haddad explained to us in an exclusive interview.
"He/she is a person who has upheld moral and human values, a person who has contributed to the evolution of society and the development of the country. We owe this person our present and our future. We must support this person through his/her weaknesses and help him/her live with dignity and health."
And the organization has been doing exactly that for the past 14 years!
Through its creation of an array of activities and events, such as field trips, meal sharing, group sports, social events, and various healthcare services, Kibarouna has greatly impacted and enriched the lives of the elderly living in Lebanon.
"We have created Kibarouna clubs where seniors meet, communicate, and do activities to maintain and strengthen their mental health... Kibarouna [also] organizes summer camps for the elderly living in the suburbs of Beirut in difficult and trying economic and psychological conditions," Mrs. Haddad shared with us.
In addition to affecting the elderly community, Kibarouna has left a significant impact on the Lebanese society as a whole through awareness and advocation of our senior citizens.
On a national scale, they have implemented the celebration of Grandparents' Day, a dedication and reminder to respect and appreciate what our elderly have done for us in their lives.
"The main impact is the community awareness of the needs, rights, and interests of elderly persons and the improvement in their quality of life," Mrs. Haddad pointed out.
Despite its major accomplishments to date, Kibarouna has no intent to leave it to that. Mrs. Haddad informed us that she plans to further this mission in the future: "Our long-term goals are to develop our action and extend it to other regions."
When a person's heart is as involved as that of the noble Mrs. Haddad and her team, the vested interest in helping a community is never tired.
Extending Kibarouna across Lebanon is more than a dream. It is a vision that we all wish to materialize for the well-being of those to whom we owe our existences. The perpetuation of our nation could not have been possible without them.
The generation we come from should not be ignored or disregarded in their rights to happiness and well-being. We owe them as much.
And Kibarouna has acknowledged that, dedicating tremendous efforts towards it since 2005.
Our seniors under their loving attention are not the only ones blessed to have such a dedicated organization to uplift them and help them realize the value they add to our society. We are too.
As members of this society, we should all salute our seniors for paving the way to where we are today. Supporting organizations such as Kibarouna that are actively honoring them is the least we could do.