10- Experience through the “Institut de Rééducation Audio- Phonétique” IRAP

Experiences of: Mrs Nada Zeidan , Mrs Josiane Chemaly

Last update: 24 April 2024


Reference of Social Work In The Face of Crises and Disasters Booklets – Part Two

Researcher – Hiam Samaha Kahi
Research Assistant – Aimee Ghanem

Another pioneering initiative was the experience of the “Institut de Rééducation Audio-Phonétique” “IRAP” founded in 1960. The administrator took the decision to engage in relief work since the beginning of the Lebanese war. As a result, this experience was launched in Biaqout, a village that was geographically close to the institute, from which its Shiite inhabitants were forced to leave, and other displaced people from Damour, Chouf and northern Lebanon in 1989 came to live in it.

Relief work began with two workers, Mrs. Nada Zeidan & Mrs. Josiane Chemaly, at “the Lady’s House”, which was a temporary home where all social and service work was organized. Later on, it turned into a children’s nursery and a youth club. Relief work has rapidly shifted into development work, and the efforts were concentrated on three key elements: education, health and work.

At that time, social workers had to address a large number of challenges, perhaps the most difficult one being dealing with the conflicts between displaced people coming to “Biaqout”, the remaining families who were living before in the neighborhood and those who returned to it.

In response to these needs, the “Social Health Care Centre” was opened in 1990, and its most important activities were providing health care, medical and educational services, in addition to various social services. When health care services were no longer needed, the centre was turned into a “Social Centre”, which provided evening classes and a youth club beside the social services.

Later on, the “Ayadina” atelier project was launched to help women relying on themselves through sewing and handicrafts. Subsequently, the challenge for social workers began to confront the mentality of a woman who hadn’t previously worked outside her home and was accustomed to dependency and facing the mindset of a husband who does not favour the idea of women’s work. Jointly, on the one hand, confronting the “beggar” mentality and shifting it to a “producer” mentality, and on the other hand, betting on the coexistence of people who are culturally, doctrinally and ideologically apart working together within a joint project, and accompanying them in order to let them become partners in work, production and coexistence.

The credit in facing these challenges goes to the commitment, persistence, patience, and willpower of social workers, as Mrs. Zeidan said: “The problems were the same, and hopes were the same for all.” … “The chairs on which the ladies were sitting were getting closer and closer”… Hence, fears fled away and barriers diminished.”