One year can make an incredible difference. We had the chance to talk to IAFR Canada team-member Insaf Safou about her recent trip to connect with Loving Hands Lebanon one year after its launch.
“One of the elderly ladies at Loving Hands is our “ironing lady”, said Insaf. "She prepares everything for packaging. When she first joined the team, she was often quite depressed. Her circumstances are very difficult. Now, there is a smile on her face. Her situation has not changed, but she has!”
Loving Hands Lebanon recently celebrated one year of operation as a social enterprise, teaching sewing skills to women. It’s one of many critically-needed programs Beirut Nazarene Church offers to refugees and the community, in partnership with IAFR Canada. In the process of creating a way for women to support their families economically they have also created a community of women who care for one another.
If you walked into the workshop, you would find a mix of refugees and local residents, Muslims and Christians all working, laughing and eating together. Daily devotional times have helped ground this team in God’s love for them. During a recent conference for women’s ministry leaders, which included the Loving Hands staff, one woman shared that she really loved her first overnight experience of gathering for worship, teaching and prayer.
Loving Hands launched with the facilitation of Insaf Safou, the oversight of Beirut Nazarene Church, and the wisdom generously shared by Hopeful Hands Erbil, founded in 2017 by a local team led by Insaf.
The local team formed quickly, bursting with creativity that soon produced bed sheets, bags, decor and clothing. All their raw materials come from Lebanon, supporting the local economy with their buy local, made local approach.
In addition, a storefront has recently been rented to display and sell the beautiful, expertly made products that Loving Hands is creating. Profits from the sales of their handiwork become the paycheques for the Loving Hands staff.
At a time when the Lebanese economy is really suffering, Loving Hands is helping refugees in Beirut not just survive, but also recover from forced displacement. They truly have accomplished so much in just one year.
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Our vision is to help people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this together with the church, both globally, and locally in Canada.