Overcoming differences: Bridging the diversity divide
- Ten percent of Lebanon’s population is 65 or older (2009)
- 69,385 persons carry official disability cards (2009)
- Approximately 80,000 are physically disabled as a result of the war (2003)
- Three percent of the Lebanese population -300,000- is estimated to be physically handicapped (1997)
- Convention on the right of persons with disabilities, are signed but not endorsed (2007)
- Law no. 220/2000 secures the basic rights for the disabled.
- Provisions to provide challenged persons with free education seems to be a myth
- Laws are not consistently applied (2011)
Our 2014-2015 theme is Overcoming Differences: Bridging the Diversity Divide, specifically the physically challenged, the elders, women, and children. As a theme, it echoes the Rotary International’s 2014-2015 Light Up Rotary and the District 2014-2015 theme Together we Serve.
By attempting to overcome differences, Beirut Cedars will light up the lives of those who are challenged, and in doing so Rotarians will serve together to bring about joy and enable the challenged to celebrate in who they are as their world with its needs are addressed. Together, Rotarians will serve and create awareness in outreach to provide ways to meet and minimize the diversity divide and try to overcome differences.
Lebanese laws exist; UN conventions have been signed. Ratified? Maybel? Interpretations are made, depending on health, social, cultural or educational ministries stance and political “wellness”. Lebanon claims to be addressing issues relating to the physically challenged and the elderly. In its eyes, it may be; but, in mine: It is not! It is not seen nor is it felt. We hope, as Rotarians, to help in addressing the dilemmas to minimize the difference.
You believed in me when you elected me to lead our Rotary year. Thank you. I pledge to move Rotary Club Beirut Cedars forward as I serve you, our theme, our community, our District, and Rotary International.
Persons have a right to live, to celebrate equality, to have basic needs met, to have access to food, accommodation; clothing and drinking water. Persons need their integrity, their feeling of worth, their self-esteem, their self-respect, their value, their honor, and their dignity.
Our club continues to be active as we, as Rotarians, serve others to the best that we can. Our Club’s first 1000 days witnessed activities we partook in through projects amounting to well over $1,000,000. It was a fruitful year of service. To date this year, our projects are accounted for in our Hand Over Ceremony Magazine, amounting to over $800,000. During the coming year, with your support and collaboration, I am confident that we will match and exceed the 2014 benchmark.
As Rotarians of Beirut Cedars, we continue to light up the lives of others as we serve them above ourselves.
PARTNER WITH US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Dr. Christine Sabieh