Lebanon and Lebanese families are going through some of the most severe times in the country’s history. On top of the social, political and economic crises came Covid-19 which significantly exacerbated the pre-existing challenges. As if that wasn’t enough, the event on August 4th, 2020 in the Beirut port area and its aftermath rocked the population to its core. The economic crisis has now left well over 60% unemployed, seen the Lebanese Lira lose more than 95% of its value and near-hyper-inflation has pushed prices for regular goods and services out of reach of the majority. In September 2019, 33% of the local population were considered to be below the poverty line, eight months later in April 2020 that figure had already risen to 50% , by December 2021 that figure was 70% and now it is very sadly upwards of 80%. Many BHS families have been affected and now require support to meet the educational needs of their children.
There are multiple ways supporters of the school can give or raise funds, even including sponsored fundraising activities such as bicycle rides across the UK, sponsoring a book for children’s reading and learning or producing tea towels for sale (particularly hot property right now!). By supporting the Bursary Fund, you will directly ensure BHS students can continue with their first class international Quaker education provided at the school, making sure no student is left behind due to the crises. Click to download the Bursary Appeal 2021-22 leaflet.
To discover the life-changing impact of financial support for BHS bursary recipients and their families, please watch our recent graduates: Teddy Joe Sarkis Nakad ’21, our IP Valedictorian who is taking up a place at university in Canada and; Esra Hammami ’14, now working for the United Nations in Turkey.
The school has opened a special fund to support our brilliantly committed teachers, administrators and other support staff during such exceptionally challenging times in Lebanon. The World Bank Lebanon Economic Monitor report in June 2021 states the country is in possibly the “Top 3” worst economic crises since the 1850s. An example of what this means practically is teachers sometimes having to queue three hours or more to refuel their cars just to be able to get to and from school. This is not forgetting no public transportation and the cost of fuel rapidly rising with government subsidies lifted and a global spike in fuel as well as commodity prices. Shopping and providing for their families, with the devaluation of salaries and savings and near-hyper-inflation, is unimaginably difficult. Just being able to put food on the table is a relief, even more so with many being the only family member left in employment. Support to this fund means teachers and support staff can at least feel some respite from all the hardships.
Recent support for this fund continues to be gratefully received in ‘fresh’ US dollars from the BHS Old Scholars Association. An incredible gift from one of the school Governors furthers adds to the assistance BHS is able to provide employees. More support has been received from school parents and other community members in a response to a letter from Principal David Gray. Yet even with such generosity it is not enough for teachers and support staff to sustain themselves and their families and more support from the BHS community and friends worldwide is much needed now.
You can watch Head of English Lisette El Hage sharing an update on what it is like as a teacher in spring 2022 in Lebanon, as she and we all call for support during these unprecedented times. The school’s current #BHSSupports appeal live now aims to raise $250,000 from 149 donors (the age of BHS) to guarantee a meaningful supplement to the income of teachers and support staff throughout academic year 2022-2023. Thanks to an extraordinary individual family matching gift, any donation up to a total value of $35,000 will be matched. As of Friday, 8 July over 40% of the target had been raised from 44 generous donors. Thank you to all those who have supported so far and thank you to all those to come.
The school is currently facing one of the most extreme financial periods in hits near-150-year history. The economic crisis that has gripped the country, with the devaluation of the currency, rising unemployment and dramatically inflated prices for local and imported goods and services, means the school is struggling despite substantial cost savings and will once again operate with a substantial budget deficit. In order to continue to provide BHS students with the high quality, holistic education the school is renowned for, some capital development projects are deemed essential and support is required.
This academic year (2021-22) the libraries refurbishment was the only major capital project the school hoped to undertake. With great thanks to an extraordinary bequest from an English Quaker and his brother, the first half of 2022 is seeing all school libraries being redeveloped for the benefit of our 1,250 students. A sponsorship document has been prepared highlighting other capital and operational areas of the school and is available upon request. Such sponsorship items include solar panels, ICT equipment and literature resources, and even for sponsoring a student or teacher. Please make contact for more details. By supporting the Capital Fund, you will be ensuring the campus remains at the high standard one can expect from our first class Quaker school.
Our Quaker school is going through unprecedented times and facing unprecedented challenges. By selecting this unrestricted donation option, you are committing your support to wherever the school is most in need and is best able to utilise it. This academic year, this may be to support bursaries, teachers and support staff or emergency appeals, as well as any capital development projects launched following completion of the libraries. Following the school’s allocation of an unrestricted donation, each donor receives an update on where their support was applied. This fund allows supporters to rest assured their donation is administered towards the most pressing school need at that specific time.