Dear Friends and D4C Community

The Christmas season is a good occasion to reflect, reach out and share. In this regard I am taking this opportunity to report about the progress we have made at D4C and our 2022 goals and ambitions.

But before listing our achievements, I would like to give you a snapshot about the situation in Lebanon for those living abroad. Since the blast on August 4 2020, many neighborhoods and houses have been rehabilitated, mainly by the tremendous efforts of our younger generation and the generous support from abroad. However, the effect of the blast on people’s mental well-being is still strongly felt by the Beirutis, even with all the psychosocial support programs offered by international and local NGOs. Moreover, the situation in Lebanon is getting worse with the devaluation of the Lebanese currency that is coupled with the fuel crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the latest studies, 60% of the population is living under the poverty line unable to cover their basic needs from food, fuel and medication. As a consequence of the difficult circumstances we are facing, young and skilled professionals are leaving the country to look for better opportunities to build their future while their country is in need of their competencies to recover.
On the other hand, you can still feel the resilience of the Lebanese community through surviving with the least possible. They never give up, keeping the beautiful positive spirit and energy surrounding them. And this is where D4C is trying to interfere and make a difference to achieve a better sustainable future.

Our Mission:

D4C’s mission is to bring together the design community to actively collaborate and engage on innovative and sustainable projects for the local vulnerable communities. Building on the practice of the Di-Lab (Design Impact Laboratory) at the Department of Architecture and Design course at AUB, we are continuously engaging the design community in designing and implementing innovative and sustainable projects, inciting designers and architects to be civically engaged in serving their communities. Our projects aim to create spaces that respond to the programmatic needs of the local communities, who will receive the required support in a dignified space that was designed in partnership with them. This reinforces the sense of ownership and belonging and strengthens the ties between the diverse groups of the Lebanese people.

What we have achieved so far:

In 2021, we were able to set up strategic partnerships and have signed agreements with agencies such as Cités Unies and La Guilde from France and Arcenciel in Lebanon.
Following a strategic planning workshop conducted, the vision and mission were revised, and the strategic priorities, objectives and structure were set. Also, we expanded the core team by hiring Farah Abi Mosleh for grant writing and Sabine Karam as our financial officer.
Furthermore, we were able to increase our capacities by engaging 30 architecture students and volunteers and hiring 4 graduates as project architects. Based on a needs assessments conducted as part of the summer internship in Di-Lab, we was able to build 2 prototypes for an urban farming unit and a market stall for arc en ciel farmers’ market in taanayel and developed 2 project proposals and concept designs for an industrial kitchen in Rmeil and a community center in Karantina.

Our first project, the ‘Crossing Together’ community center, has become a successful model for bottom-up community engagement. The center has constantly increased its capacities and number of beneficiaries by distributing ready-meals, food parcels, and medicine. Moreover, providing psychosocial support and family therapy to people affected by Beirut Blast. With Caritas medical services now, the center is supporting 600 families per month.

Based on this experience, we have teamed up with the Beirut Urban Lab (BUL) from the American University of Beirut to develop a similar concept, the ‘Nafas’ Community Center in the Karantina area which is next to the Beirut port where the explosion happened. We were able to secure around 60,000 USD for the rehabilitation of the warehouse to become a social hub in Karantina. The iconic design was conducted in collaboration with the Di-Lab, offering a diverse program ranging from food production and a marketplace to theatre and psychosocial support. We also teamed up with different NGOs providing programs at a yearly budget of 400,000 USD. We are currently waiting for the building permission from the Beirut municipality hoping to start construction early next year.
The designed marketplace in Taanayel in the Bekaa valley and urban farming units for rooftops and public spaces prototypes were constructed with the support of Arcenciel NGO. We hope that the models will be scaled for the benefit of improving the local production of food to support households in affected areas of the country.

Our Goals:

D4C aims to increase its capacities and reach more vulnerable people in 2022. For this purpose, we seek to continuously reinforce the organizational structure and development of D4C. Having successfully registered the NGO and established our policies and financial structure, we are working towards being certified by NGOi which is an agency within AUB that reviews and assesses the governance and administrative structures as well as operational principles of our NGO.

As our vision is also to empower young people to be engaged in creating sustainable and innovative projects that serve the community, we are aiming to set up a hybrid educational and professional training program, where the design community can acquire knowledge and develop skills for community-based projects. We believe that this will not only serve young professional architects and engineers who can’t find jobs, but also increase our capacities to reach out to a broader community in need.
Construction of the Bekaa school
Refurbishment of the Barouk School
Soup Kichen Karantina
Crossing Together Community Center
Partnership with La Guild / France
Arcenciel Farmers Market
Nafas Community Center
What we have achieved this year has exceeded our expectations which led us to dream big. This would not have been possible without your generous support. Thank you!

We hope that next year we will still be able to pursue our quest.

On behalf of the D4C team, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Karim Najjar / D4C President

Spenden:

Spenden an D4C werden in Europa über den Verein “Thinking Hand“ und Gofundme abgewickelt.

“Thinking Hand“

Verein zur Stärkung und Förderung sozial engagierter Bauprojekte
Ober Bank 
IBAN: AT12 1500 0005 0143 8873
BIC: OBKLAT2L
Verwendungszweck : “D4C, Help us to Help”

Gofundme (Online)

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