BEIRUT: Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour warned Tuesday that the country was only seeing the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to violence and other problems from which children suffer.
Abu Faour made the comments during a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the Dar al-Amal children’s shelter in Shoueifat, south of Beirut.
The project to open the shelter, initiated by the the firm ABC, announced that it raised LL56 million for Dar al-Amal, a shelter that caters to children at risk from poor communities, following a successful funding campaign by the Small Bear Big Heart initiative.
“We launched Small Bear Big Heart initiative in 2010 with the aim of adopting a child-related cause every year,” ABC Chairman and Tripoli MP Robert Fadel said.
Following previous successes, ABC decided this year to involve its customers, fans and staff in the selection process for the new cause through a voting campaign on Facebook.
“Our support for Dar al-Amal stems from our belief that every child has the right to receive support and the best possible care, as they are the nation’s future. Our mission is to help prevent violence against children and also rehabilitate children suffering from abuse,” he added.
Shoueifat Mayor Melhem Souqi congratulated Dar al-Amal on the inauguration of the new shelter.
“Choosing the heart of Shoueifat’s old souk to open this shelter has an emotional significance because in this particular place, neighboring families are harmonious and originate from different communities,” he said.
Abu Faour stressed that children today are “threatened” because they are exposed to violence ranging from physical, sexual and verbal abuse, as well as several kidnappings that have targeted minors.
“What we are witnessing today is only the tip of the iceberg, and this is only what appears in the media,” he said. “It’s about time we admit violence is affecting our children, hence the importance of the Dar al-Amal initiative. We are in dire need of a shelter where every child feels the same kind of security as they would if they were living with a family.”