17- Experience through the “Service Social pour le Bien-être de l’Enfant au Liban” SESOBEL

Experiences of: Mrs Solange Sakr Mrs Yvonne Chami Mrs Fadia Safi

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

The issue of disability was one of the most prominent problems created by war, and one of its negative consequences was the suspension of work at many social welfare institutions for people with special needs or people with solid wills. Subsequently, an appeal was launched by Mrs. Yvonne Chami. Other social workers responded to it as well as Mrs. Solange Sakr with a multidisciplinary work team. Hence, in 1977 the SESOBEL association was founded.

Soon enough, Mrs. Fadia Safi joined the working team, and the project was launched in the midst of the Lebanese war. Mrs. Safi said: “Because of war, we were forced to suspend some projects to concentrate on relief work for the displaced people. War taught us to depend on ourselves to support and finance our projects and programmes. We were not satisfied with reality and did not adapt to it, but we tried to cope with the situation.” She continued: “No matter how tough the circumstances, the working team kept its enthusiasm and the spirit of initiative and volunteering alongside the high level of professionalism that was accompanying us.”

SESOBEL introduced new and developed concepts to this field, especially working with the direct and indirect environment, focusing on diagnosis and follow-up, seeking inclusion within society, working with families, supporting and training them to follow up on their children even after they pass beyond adolescence, as well as working on the society to accept the different otherness, creating social awareness about disability and contributing to research work. The greatest concern was the development of laws and social policies that guarantee the implementation of this group rights, as they are citizens like everyone else.

Perhaps the main achievement was the contribution of SESOBEL through Mrs. Solange Sakr, in the Constituent Committee for the Disabled within the Ministry of Social Affairs and her active participation in drafting the law of 2020/200, which had an important influence on those with solid wills, even though it has not been completed yet. From what Mrs. Sakr said: “Social work must keep up with societal and life issues… When there are groups that cannot obtain their rights, social workers must stand for them…”. “We cannot generalize social work to all the social environment, but we can develop laws that make a difference in citizens’ lives and make them demand their rights…”

It is worth mentioning other successful experiences carried out by several social institutions in the field of disability in various areas in Lebanon. We hope to shed light on them one day.