Lebanon - Giving something back

Giving something back

Walking around the immaculately restored buildings of Downtown Beirut or gazing up at the plethora of glittering high-rise five-star hotels that dot the city, you could be forgiven for thinking that Lebanon is far from being a needy nation. Similarly, with its high adult literacy rate, advanced health care facilities and the billions of dollars that pour into the country each year from the Lebanese diaspora, Lebanon can evoke an aura of prosperity, and street beggars are a rarity compared with many other countries in the region. However, appearances can be deceptive, and beneath the wealthy veneer Lebanon remains an emerging country, following the cessation of civil war hostilities, with issues of human poverty, the environment and the sectarian divide remaining prominent facts of life.

All these concerns ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for the visitor to put back into the country at least as much as they take out. It may be a cliché, but buying Lebanese produce, such as at Beirut’s weekly farmers’ market, Souk el Tayeb, or purchasing your souvenir craft items from Lebanese artisans at the city’s L’Artisan du Liban, is a fantastic way of ensuring that your money goes to some of those who need it most. There are also opportunities to purchase Palestinian products such as a variety of embroidered items, with funds fed back into refugee camps to help this much impoverished diaspora.

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