12/07/2019, 08.00
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Card Raï obtains the release of funds for associations in aid of disabled

Payments made by December 15th.  Minister for Social Affairs: "Christmas Gift" for those who work for people with disabilities.  A thousand gathered in the patriarchal see on the occasion of the World Day.  The cardinal: how we treat the disabled "determines the degree of civilization of a nation".


Beirut (AsiaNews / LOJ) - The payment of all amounts due for the current year by December 15: this is the "Christmas gift" for Lebanese associations that work in favor of disabled people.  The "good news" was announced by the outgoing Minister for Social Affairs Richard Kouyoumjian, at the end of a meeting with the leaders of the Maronite patriarchate in Bkerké and following the direct intervention of Card.  Beshara Raï.

 A promise made during a sit-in organized in the patriarchal headquarters by various associations and NGOs in the sector, in conjunction with the International Day for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated worldwide last December 3rd.  About one thousand relatives and carers of disabled people attended the event, to express their frustration with respect to "a situation that has become unsustainable".

In the past, groups and families had already taken to the streets to protest forcefully against the cuts, which hit a reality already proven by difficulties.  Hence the choice of the Maronite patriarch, Card Beshara Raï, to intervene personally in the affair, presenting himself to the families present in Bkerké in the company of Minister Kouyoumjian (Lebanese Forces).

Addressing the disabled and their relatives, the cardinal said that the way in which we behave towards them "determines the degree of civilization of a nation".  The minister insisted that "the doors will not be closed" in the face of associations that "deal with people in need".  He then recalled the "crisis" situation in the country and that ends up "affecting you".

Kouyoumjian then explained that it will take at least a week of work at the ministry before registering the contracts and sending them to colleagues in the finance department to release the funds.  This should happen for December 15 and, for the following months, the money will have to arrive by the 10th of every month. In these weeks of economic crisis, some of these associations have had to reduce expenses while others have come to suspend activities and close the doors  .

To improve care and services, the associations that operate in favor of disabled people in Lebanon have recently joined a federation.  To date, there are 102 in total and about 12 thousand children, young people and adults are involved.

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