In a spontaneous campaign conducted live on MTV Lebanon TV channel, Lebanese people donated 3.2 billion LBP (equivalent to 2,110,865 million USD at the official exchange rate) to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The fundraising initiative was not planned prior to the show “Sar El Wa2et“, but when the host Marcel Ghanem opened up the air for people to send out donations via WhatsApp, the Lebanese people did not disappoint.
Many of the Lebanese expats were pledging donations up to 50 million LBP (equivalent to USD 32,982 at the official exchange rate) in an attempt to help Lebanon in its fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
Most donations were sent out to the Lebanese Red Cross and Rafik Al-Hariri Hospital. Some donations were also sent out to the Lebanese families that are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and that the Lebanese government will offer social assistance to.
3 مليار و مئتي مليون ليرة لبنان بحملة عفوية على الهواء . #صار_الوقت
One man sent a message saying that he will donate 200,000 LBP (131 dollars at the official exchange rate), as it is the only money he has. “I am ready to eat plain bread for the Lebanese Red Cross and the workers and nurses at Rafik Al-Hariri Hospital.”
A scout girl broke her piggy bank, saying that she will donate whatever savings she would find for the Lebanese Red Cross. The total amount she had in her piggy bank came to 20,000 LBP (equivalent to 13 USD at the official exchange rate).
Even though the show was able to collect 3.2 billion LBP donated by Lebanese residing in Lebanon and abroad, the donations were not directly managed but were sent as messages through WhatsApp and the personal phones of the show’s staff members.
OMT (Online Money Transfer) Lebanon stepped in to confirm that its centers will be allocated for donations to Rafik Hariri Hospital, free of charge, for their fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to MTV Lebanon, the campaign will continue on Sunday throughout the day in a more organized way as this one took off spontaneously.
Marcel Ghanem said that a section may be launched on MTV Lebanon’s website dedicated to the donations.
The Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab congratulated the initiative on his official Twitter, saying:
“One again, the Lebanese people proved that they are able to face challenges, by coming together and uniting, and by raising donations for the fight against the coronavirus, proving that they are a nation that deserves Lebanon. #TogetherWeFaceChallenges.”
In response to the endeavor and the stances of appreciation and support from the Lebanese people towards the Lebanese Red Cross during the fundraising, LRC tweeted a message of gratitude that says:
“We love you all. We thank you for your trust and we promise you that we will be up to it. Thank you from the heart.”
The Red Cross had posted earlier that day on social media an urgent message, warning people that some initiatives out there fundraising money allegedly for the Lebanese Red Cross are fraudulent, “meaning that the money doesn’t actually reach LRC.”
The surer way for those who want to donate to the LRC would be to do it directly through its website or by downloading its Support LRC app.