Grandparents are a great example of true abundant and unconditional love, especially when it comes to our Lebanese culture. We always get to hear this beautiful Lebanese saying from the mouth of our grandparents, "There is no-one dearer than the child, other than the child of the child." That expresses all the possible love grandparents have for their grandchildren.
Those Grandmas and Grandpas or Teta and Jedo, as we Lebanese call them endearingly, are considered very special people in our life as in our culture. They are the reason we are here, we descend from them, and they have played an important role in shaping who we are today.
During our childhood, they freely and lovingly took the role of our caretakers, playmates, storytellers, consolers, defenders, and much more.
Let's admit it, how many times have we gone to our Teta or our Jedo seeking their warm hugs or to intervene with our parents to stop a punishment, or for this special tabkha only Teta would spend hours cooking for us?
And that would go all throughout our teenage times and beyond, as they would become our friends, our advisers, our mentors, and not too rarely the confidantes of our little and not too little secrets. That unconditional source of love and acceptance in our life, that's Teta and Jedo.
As we turn into adulthood, and they into the last and vulnerable phase of their life, the very least we owe them is to honor them and the significant roles they undertook so lovingly in our lives. Showing genuine care, supporting them, and loving them, that's our sacred role towards them.
And there is another important aspect of that love we have for them: Partaking in raising awareness about the plight of the elderly in Lebanon and make them feel that they matter; that they belong; because they do!
That's why we now celebrate them on a special day of the year in Lebanon. I do say "now" because Lebanon failed to do so for ages until 15 years ago when an organization called Kibarouna worked relentlessly to ensure that Lebanon has officially its own national Grandparents Day.
For those among you who haven't read yet our previous article about Kibarouna, know that that Lebanese NGO, headed by Mme Henriette Haddad, has been working assiduously for Lebanon's elderly community for the past 15 years, and thriving to improve the quality of life of our seniors.
And so it is that, on June 29, Lebanon celebrates its esteemed Grandparents, reminding us all to make that day a very special one for them.
Going further with their achievement of anchoring a Grandparent Day in our official calendar, Kibarouna celebrates as well that day annually at a national level, holding a huge premium event for about 1000 grandparents from around 40 NGOs and care centers from all around Lebanon.
This year, on the 29th of June, the Grandparents Day's event will be held under the patronage and presence of former Lebanese minister of industry Mme Leila Solh Hamadeh, the vice president of Alwaleed bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation in Lebanon. It will take place at Center Emile Lahoud for Culture and Congress, starting at 9:45 AM.
As proven from their previous Grandparents Day' celebrations, Kibarouna goes to a great length in organizing that event, from selecting outstanding stage performers to dedicating close attention to all details, including goodie-gifts, and all that is needed for the smooth attendance and comfort of its 1000 guests.
Among the various known performers that will animate the event, we cite the famous Lebanese singer Pascale Machaalani, and the Maestro Fadi Yacoub leading the instrument players and choral of Mar Mikhael Institute for Music and Arts.
Kibarouna, known officially as Elder's Care and Protection, was founded in 2005 by its current president Mrs. Henriette Haddad and a small team of friends who shared her vision of improving the quality of life of Lebanon's elders, whether living alone or with family members.
"For us, an elderly person is someone who has sacrificed a great deal throughout his/her life...," Mrs. Haddad told The961 in an exclusive interview last month.
Adding, in her words, "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."
Kibarouna’s work was duly recognized locally and internationally by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) -the United Nations' global development network- and also by Quality System International (QSYSI) and the Ministry of Social Affairs in Lebanon.
In 2014, it was awarded the Award of the Best Idealistic NGO among the NGOs working for the elderly.
We certainly want to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all our grandparents for all that they have done for us, as individuals, and for the perpetuation of our Lebanese society. We wish all our Tetas and Jeddos: An Awesome Grandparents' Day!