The Michel Daher Foundation, established in 2014 as a local Lebanese NGO, addresses the challenges faced by the communities in the Bekaa area. Their mission revolves around creating an enabling environment for individuals to reach their fullest potential through initiatives such as community healthcare, capacity building, sustainable development, and environmental conservation. The organization is guided by core values that shape its actions and decisions, consistently working to make a positive social impact and uplift the Bekaa community. Their unwavering commitment is dedicated to supporting and enhancing the livelihoods of the Bekaa community amidst adversity, all while remaining accountable for achieving their vision and mission.
Q: How long has your organization been operational, and how was it founded?
A: In 1992, the journey of Michel and Marleine Daher began when they made the heartfelt decision to return to their homeland and settle in their village. Fueled by a profound sense of responsibility, they recognized their role in enhancing the lives of those in their midst. Their initial foray into charitable work was a spontaneous act of support for the people in their immediate community, sowing the seeds of compassion and sparking an enduring desire for lasting transformation.
In 2010, as they witnessed the healthcare challenges, particularly among women and children, plaguing their community, they embarked on a mission to establish community healthcare centers. These centers were envisioned to deliver high-quality, accessible healthcare services, ensuring that no one would be left behind in terms of their well-being.
Over the years, the Michel Daher Foundation’s focus organically evolved and expanded, culminating in its official registration in 2014 as a significant milestone in its journey. With an unwavering vision, the foundation’s scope has grown, and today, the Michel Daher Social Foundation stands as a testament to the profound impact of compassion and an unwavering belief in the potential for positive change. Fueled by boundless optimism and propelled by unwavering dedication, their journey continues to make a meaningful and transformative difference in the lives of those they are privileged to serve.
Q: What kind of programs are you running, and who benefits from them?
- Community Healthcare: Michel Daher Foundation (MDF) is committed to providing high-quality and accessible healthcare services to all the people of Bekaa, regardless of their backgrounds or resources.
Our healthcare centers in Zahle and Ferzol work closely with the Ministry of Public Health, and local and international partners to raise awareness on health topics while ensuring access to quality medical care.
The services include medical consultations, vaccination, mammography tests, ultrasound, pap smear tests, blood tests, dental care, and the provision of subsidized medicines.
More than 4,000 citizens benefit each month from affordable, yet decent care solutions, making a difference in everyone’s life as well as contributing to a healthier community.
PCR campaigns and COVID-19 vaccination drives have already benefited more than 12,000 people in 2021.
- Economic and Human Development: MDF aims to supercharge the Bekaa region’s workforce, encouraging skilled individuals to put down roots and make meaningful contributions locally. We’re helping locals develop their technical-vocational know-how, entrepreneurship acumen, essential soft skills, and job application techniques to confidently join or create their vibrant enterprises – driving sustainable growth for everyone involved.
Starting in 2021, our Tech Academy enabled over 870 graduates to become competent and successful digital professionals through online courses covering data science, artificial intelligence, animation, digital marketing, and mobile application development among other exciting and emerging topics.
The Career Bridge Program provided career guidance and soft skills training to more than 6,000 participants.
Our Adira project has been empowering more than 25 local women by unifying their Mouneh products under one brand and connecting them with larger markets, including the Lebanese diaspora.
- Social Development: MDF is committed to supporting families and individuals facing economic or health hardships positively impacting the lives of many.
Since 2012, we have helped over 300 couples start their family journeys through our collective weddings, fostered the personal and financial growth of more than 1,500 women with the Ente Adda initiative, and supported more than 10 thousand households in need — providing food boxes, medicines, and other forms of aid.
In addition to the AntaMe program that benefitted more than 3600 children and youth through dynamic storytelling sessions and interactive workshops. It covers a wide range of topics, including Child Rights, Various Forms of Abuse, Bullying, Drug Addiction and Suicide Prevention, and others.
More recently, and after launching our social Center, we are supporting more than 200 children with communication and education challenges through speech & psychomotor therapy and psychosocial logical support for them and their families.
- Community and Environmental Development: At MDF, we strive to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Lebanon by stimulating environmental awareness and compassion for the distressed.
Through our flagship Fakker Bi2iyan environmental initiative, we conducted 77 clean-up and planting campaigns and collected 48 tons of recyclables. We have also engaged over 4,000 participants in 41 sustainability awareness events — encouraging 1,500+ families and 45 businesses to start waste sorting.
After the Beirut Port blast, we gathered 200 volunteers and provided food boxes and hygiene kits for those affected by the tragedy. We set up 40 temporary shelters at 200 locations and helped repair 40 damaged homes.
Q: What sets your organization apart from other organizations in your industry?
A: The Michel Daher Foundation’s emphasis on the Bekaa region and its commitment to human and community development in that context are key factors that set it apart from other organizations in the humanitarian or development sector.
Q: What has been the impact of the partnership with Berytech on your organization so far, and how do you see this impacting your entrepreneurs?
A: This partnership has been instrumental in bolstering entrepreneurial endeavors in the Bekaa region. It has facilitated capacity building by tapping into Berytech’s expertise and resources in entrepreneurship development, broadened the entrepreneurship ecosystem by connecting MDF to a wider network of support, and influenced program development for MDF’s entrepreneurship initiatives. Additionally, through this collaboration, entrepreneurs in MDF’s programs have gained improved access to funding opportunities and vital skills, mentorship, and market insights. This partnership has not only solidified MDF’s role as a hub for entrepreneurs in the Bekaa region but also contributed to a positive community impact through job creation, innovation, and economic growth.
Q: Can you share a major challenge your organization faced and how you were able to overcome it?
A: Our primary challenge is the widespread demotivation and hopelessness among Lebanon’s youth, leading them to seek opportunities abroad. The Michel Daher Foundation is actively tackling this issue by investing in skills development, fostering entrepreneurship, and organizing internship and job programs. Additionally, we’ve initiated mental health support services and encouraged youth participation in volunteer and community projects. These multifaceted efforts aim to equip and empower young Lebanese individuals, offering them reasons to stay, contribute to their homeland, and revitalize hope for a better future within Lebanon.
Q: What is your organization’s growth plan for the next 5 years?
A: This strategic growth plan embodies our unwavering commitment to nurturing positive change, fostering sustainable development, and addressing the evolving needs of the Bekaa region and beyond. As we reflect on our past achievements and the challenges faced by our community, we recognize the imperative to not only adapt but to innovate and expand our reach. This growth plan serves as a
testament to our vision of becoming a catalyst for holistic development, a hub of innovation, and a beacon of hope for the communities we serve. It encompasses various key pillars, including strengthening governance and leadership structures, establishing an impact investment fund to support local startups and social enterprises, expanding sustainable agriculture and agro-tourism programs, emphasizing women and youth empowerment initiatives, introducing green initiatives for environmental conservation, launching LINK as an incubation center for socially and environmentally responsible businesses, expanding entrepreneurship and economic development programs, engaging in advocacy efforts to influence policy changes, and establishing strategic partnerships with international organizations, impact investors, and corporations to enhance program scalability and impact.
About Partner Growth
Berytech has created the Partner Growth Program under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub Initiative to enable five Support Organizations in different Lebanese regions, for three consecutive years, to source entrepreneurs with innovative solutions in the agrifood and clean technology sectors, assist them in ideating and validating their solutions through the IdeaLab Program, and initiate them to apply and join the Agrytech or Clyntech Accelerators and grow their businesses.