Dubai-based Indian expat Mohana Rao launched a fundraising initiative back in August, following Beirut’s disastrous port blast, where she raised funds by selling specially designed T-shirts, bags, and masks during events held at community centers in Dubai.
She has been collaborating with several organizations, namely the Lebanese Red Cross, Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), Broummana-Based Al Amal Institute for the Disabled, Liban Troc, and Aid Lebanon Now, to provide impoverished families, in Beirut and beyond, with food grains and various necessities.
A passionate humanitarian, Rao felt very moved by the Beirut blast of August 4th. She went on to design a statement of solidarity, Je Suis Beyrouth (I am Beirut), on white T-shirts with the red stripes of the Lebanese flag. Topping the words, a small flame of hope rises.
Her designed statement was also produced on masks and bags.
She went active on social media for her fundraising initiative, selling the items and also receiving messages for help from Lebanon. So far, she has sold about 70 percent of the stock, which proceeds she is allocating to the ERC for Lebanon.
The Indian expat did even more than that.
“I bought sleeping bags from a merchant in Ajman and, through the ERC, shipped more than 300 of them to Beirut ahead of the winter. And then some 50 tablets to help students continue with online learning and people to carry on with their work,” Rao told Khaleej Times.
She has even stepped up to help with Lebanon’s most recent alarming COVID-19 situation, focusing on impoverished families through local organizations, like the Broummana-based Al-Amal Institute for the Disabled.
The institute is working on buying grains from farmers in the south of Lebanon. Food boxes are sent to the army to distribute them in the most devastated areas of Beirut.
“So far 135 families were provided several kilos of legumes. I am just a conduit,” Rao said with modesty.
Mohana Rao has a particular connection to Lebanon. Her father was an Indian Army officer who had served in Lebanon, and she herself was born in Beirut.
However, Rao’s endeavor for the people in Lebanon is not the first of her humanitarian initiatives. She has also helped people affected by natural disasters in Pakistan and Oman.
Her life purpose seems clear to her, “making life better for people.”