On August 4th, 2020, a massive explosion occurred at the Beirut Port sending a deadly shockwave that shattered glass across the capital city.
Almost 200 people were killed in the blast, thousands sustained injuries they’ll never forget, and hundreds of thousands were rendered homeless.
Today, Beirut is rebuilding itself thanks to action taken by its citizens and the immense support from people around the world – all while the government is absent.
In the recovery stages, Lebanese-American Silvia Fadel knew she wanted to do something “even if it was something really small,” she told The961.
Fadel went on to single-handedly launch an initiative called Lebanese Glass, to make use of glass broken in the blast and give it a new meaning, while also giving back to Lebanon.
How It All Began
“After the blast, I felt helpless,” she said. “I think many other Lebanese citizens or people who have a love for Lebanon felt the same way after seeing what we saw on social media and on TV.”
She knew Live Love Recycle was working to collect the broken glass off the streets of Beirut and was aware that it could be reused in various ways. However, she wished it was marketed better and had more reach/impact.
That’s when it hit her: Why not start something herself that would support Lebanese manufacturers with an international-scale initiative that could make use of the broken glass, which would otherwise go to waste?
Inspired by her passion for Lebanese tradition and traditional pieces, she decided that the broken glass should be transformed into traditional Lebanese water jugs or ‘ibriq‘ and other traditional treasures.
This way, the broken glass is recycled and reformed into something useful that will keep Lebanon’s spirit and tradition alive everywhere.
All of the glass items are being manufactured in Lebanon, by glassblowers from the northern capital Tripoli. Through their mesmerizing craft, the glass workers are giving life to the broken pieces of Beirut!
Fadel told The961 that when she reached out to the local manufacturers, Uni Glass, they were extremely supportive of the idea.
They were even more thrilled that Lebanese Glass would be buying the specially-made pitchers from them in USD, a currency that is now rare to come by in Lebanon.
“They were on the verge of turning their lights out. I feel very comforted and relieved to know that Lebanese Glass is helping them keep their lights on,” she said.
Today, some of the workers rely solely on making the pitchers as their main source of income.
Moreover, while the focus is now on rebuilding Beirut, one shouldn’t forget to appreciate those who continuously pick up its broken pieces and do good for the environment.
That’s why, for every item sold, Lebanese Glass is donating $1 to Live Love Recycle in Lebanon, which collected the glass that shattered across Beirut.
In addition to that, Fadel is buying large quantities of the glass jugs from Uni Glass and donating them to Live Love Recycle so they can sell the items in Lebanon and keep the proceeds.
Surprisingly, the first person to buy the glass jug wasn’t even Lebanese, Fadel told us. “I’m getting so many people from different backgrounds supporting this initiative.”
“It tells you a lot about how Lebanese citizens have touched the lives of so many people around the world. It tells you a lot about the kind of people that we are,” she said.
So far, Lebanese Glass has already sold over 1,000 glass items through its website and recent exhibition in Dubai. On average, Lebanese Glass gets 10 new orders per day from around the world!