One of Lebanon’s oldest and most needed NGOs, Sesobel, is about to shut its doors for good to the Lebanese kids with special needs as a result of the government failing to release the funds owed to the institution.
These measures include reducing the number of days in which the institution can receive and attend to the children, canceling the daily meals it used to provide to the kids and replacing them with sandwiches provided by parents, adjusting the schedule of direct care in Sesobel centers to 4 days only, from Tuesday to Friday.
How would the institution manage further under the increasing financial pressure is a question mark in a dark future that is edging too close. In fact, Sesobel has announced that it is closing its doors on June 28 until further notice, and a decision of re-opening to serve the needed kids will depend on its future status.
Sesobels’ crisis goes back to 2018 as the Ministry of Social Affairs has been failing to settle Sesobels’ disbursement of $1.7 million, the matter that affected a huge number of Sesobel children and staff.
“We have not received a single payment since June 2018,” Sesobel director Fadia Safi told Annahar, adding that her organization employs 215 full-time workers and another 25 on a part-time basis.
From their side, Lebanese Officials stressed that all settlements will be covered once the new budget is approved by the Parliament.
As a result, Minister of Social Affairs Richard Kouyoumijian pleaded with his fellow officials to release the funds needed for Sesobel to continue its operations and vowed to bring up the issue at the next Cabinet meeting.
Kouyoumijian also visited Sesobel announcing that it will continue its work. “We will not accept the shut down of Sesobel or other welfare associations,” he said. Adding “You are like a green cedar and we will not accept this cedar to die”.
Sesobels’ decision of shutting down provoked a wave of anger on social media platforms where some people started comparing the case with provisions and expenses paid by the state on matters less important than the noble mission of Sesobel.
I support @sesobel because they remind us that there is still hope. I support them because they never failed to defeat all the odds and remind us that our purpose in life is to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity. #Sesobel is not dying anytime soon! pic.twitter.com/ntzaVRW9Ct