As the Karantina area directly borders the port, the Beirut explosion has severely affected this area. The high level of destruction was accompanied by hyperinflation, economic crisis in Lebanon, and the COVID19 Pandemic further fueling the hardships the community was already suffering from.
In this context, Design 4 Community NGO (D4C) and the Design Impact Laboratory (DI-Lab) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) have joined forces with Shelsh NGO to respond to this catastrophic state and ease the suffering of the Karantina community.
Our creative team, in collaboration with the Shelsh NGO, aspires to upgrade and transform a makeshift soup kitchen into a multifunctional, educational, and dynamic relief hub that inspires effective partnerships and community engagement. The kitchen needs to be transformed into a hygienic and healthy environment for the preparation of hot meals for 800 people and more. The courtyard in front of the kitchen, where people at noon stand in line to gather their packaged meal, is barren, desolate and unprotected from sun or rain.
The vision of the “Le2met Mariam” is to create a safe and empowering space for people facing difficulties to connect with volunteers, build a network of solidarity and participate in community workshops. The initial soup kitchen will develop and expand in a sustainable and dynamic manner that reduces dependencies and creates synergies among the different partners and beneficiaries involved.
In addition to the kitchen operation, workshops will allow the community and the volunteers to:
- Learn cooking skills, encouraging intergenerational exchange of skills, bonding, and eventually learning how to sustainably cater for their own needs.
- Develop learning opportunities for children around a botanical program: planting, growing their own botanical gardens, vegetables, agriculture…
- Participate in group and individual therapy sessions to support children, young people and adults in overcoming the psychological trauma and improve mental health.