Water project unites Rotary clubs and Lebanon

Published 11:36 am Monday, February 12, 2018

A project to provide clean water to all of Lebanon’s schools is uniting leaders from many of the country’s diverse religious, cultural and political divisions.

Lina Shehayeb, president of the Rotary Club of Aley, is a Druze by faith. Shehayeb is working alongside club members who are Catholic, Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Muslim to promote the project. She thinks this diversity has deepened her understanding of those with different religious or political views.

“We are building peace and understanding,” she said. “There has never been anything quite like this in our country.”

The effort could not have come at a better time. With the crisis in Syria, Lebanon’s population is ballooning with refugees, including many school-age children. By improving the schools these children attend, Rotary members are laying the groundwork for future peace in the region.

Rotary is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, World Vision, UNICEF and the Red Cross. Red Cross volunteers take water samples in each of the schools a few times a year and send those samples to the Lebanese Agricultural Laboratory Institute for testing. According to the committee’s technical team, it will cost roughly $2,500 a school to install water tanks, filters and provide ongoing monitoring. About 200 schools have been covered so far. The goal is to reach all 1,535 schools in Lebanon within three years.

One more example of Rotarians working together to make their world a more peaceful and better place.