Restoring Hope, Regaining Mobility
In a country that has had more than its fair share of conflict, even when war is over, the impact can continue to reverberate throughout everyday life. Beyond the tragic deaths of civilians, there are the additional casualties of landmines and explosive ordnance, whose loss of limb or limbs can lead to marginalization from society, deprivation of income, and, often, despair. To this backdrop, Fransabank joined forces with UNIFIL to sponsor the Jaipur Foot Project, an initiative to provide free artificial limbs to Lebanese victims.
Since its invention in 1969, the Jaipur Foot has enabled millions of people across the world to once again live normal lives. Unlike traditional prostheses, which can cost thousands of dollars, the Jaipur Foot is made of rubber, wood and aluminium for a relatively low cost. The advantage of the Jaipur Foot doesn’t just lie in its price, though. This prosthetic limb is light and mobile, enabling its wearers to run, climb trees, pedal a bicycle and even kneel. An additional advantage to the Jaipur Foot is, unlike its more expensive counterparts, it does not have to be worn with shoes, making it suitable for the needs of Muslims when praying or entering mosques.
To fulfil the order of Jaipur Foot prostheses sponsored by Fransabank, workers toiled around the clock at voluntary organization Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in Rajasthan, India. A total of 90 artificial limbs for 81 people were provided, giving the vast majority of them immediate mobility. Recipients ranged in age from seven years to 77 and came from a wide range of regions including Beirut, Aley, Bekaa, West Bekaa, North, the Chouf and the South.
Fransabank was recognized for its contribution at a presentation parade in which UN medals were presented to the peacekeepers in the presence of Major General Claudio Graziano, UNIFIL Force Commander, senior UNIFIL commanders and battalion commanding officers, as well as Lebanese dignitaries. At the ceremony, Major General Graziano described the camp set up for the distribution of the Jaipur Foot as “the jewel of humanitarian activities”.
At the camp fitting session, emotional scenes of happiness prevailed, perhaps most aptly conveyed by the participant who, after having two above the knee prostheses fitted, immediately began to dance. Later the same day, one of the younger recipients joined the UNIFIL soldiers in a game of basketball. These two poignant vignettes provide just a small glimpse into how this Fransabank initiative restored not only the day-to-day mobility of many but revived their hope for the future to come. The society behind the Jaipur Foot initiative began in 1975 with a very modest fitment of 59 artificial limbs. Today it fits approximately 20,000 artificial limbs and 30,000 polio calipers, in addition to other aids and appliances, every year in India and abroad in countries such as Lebanon.
A Right to Life
In addition to helping to give conflict victims a new lease of life, Fransabank initiatives have focused on the right to life. We support a range of humanitarian causes and non-profit organizations which bring hope to people in need of medical treatment. These include the Brave Heart Fund, the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, the National Eye Bank, Breast Cancer Research, and the Center for Osteoporosis Research, among others.
“No child shall die of heart disease because of lack of funds” is the noble mission of the Brave Heart Fund, a philanthropic institution that provides funding for surgery on infants born with congenital heart problems. Fransabank wholeheartedly supported the Brave Heart Fund in its mission by donating funds for surgery and hospitalization fees. This support has taken on various guises, such as our participation in the Brave Heart Marathon over consecutive years, and, more recently, our sponsorship of Brave Heart’s fundraising gala dinner also for the past two consecutive years. Fransabank’s role as main sponsor of this event made it possible to raise another USD 500,000 during an auction held at the dinner. A video presentation from Fansabank Chairman Adnan Kassar was screened at the event in which he encouraged Brave Heart to continue their valiant efforts and grant children their most natural right in life: the right to live.
Fransabank employees play equally a vital role in adopting the Bank’s CSR strategies by being the major associates to the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon’s “Partner In Life” Program. They were enrolled in the Program on November 2005 till today and they donate a designated amount of money from their monthly salary. The donated money will be contributed to the Center in an attempt to make a difference in the lives of those children.
Road Safety is No Accident
Fransabank has also joined forces with local organizations like Kunhadi and YASA (Youth Association for Social Awareness), to raise awareness of road safety issues and to join the campaign to reduce the number of road accidents in the country. In 2011, Fransabank was an active partner of the alliance created by Kunhadi for the UN Decade for Road Safety. The Alliance combined different private sector companies that have come together to act on improving road safety. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with all partners pledging to work with together on promoting road safety.
Globally, road accidents are the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29 years and the third leading cause of death among people aged 30 to 44 years. Statistics show that they kill 1.2 million people every year and injure or disable between 20 million and 50 million more. Without immediate action to improve road safety, it is estimated that road traffic deaths will increase by 80% in low- and middle- income countries by 2020. This is an issue that affects all of society;
whether as drivers, cyclists, pedestrians or passengers, we are all road users in our daily lives. Every week, friends, neighbors, family members or workmates start a journey that some never complete. To help prevent further losses of loved ones, Fransabank has joined hands with these two NGOs to lower the toll of car accidents in Lebanon.
Roads for Life and the ATLS Course
Roads for Life | The Talal Kassem Fund for Post Accident Care is inspired by Talal Kassem, another road victim. His tragic death at the age of 17 when he was hit by a reckless driver turned into an opportunity to help save thousands of lives.
Roads for life fund made the commitment to optimize the survival odds of all victims of road accidents during the first crucial "60 minutes" following such accidents. That is because a swift and efficient intervention by the emergency teams on the scene of the accident would help save each year thousands of lives lost on the roads.
Fransabank supports “Roads for Life” in their commitment and helps them through the co-funding of the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course. The ATLS which was tentatively launched in Lebanon in 2011, will be partially funded in order to allow it to rise up to the level of similar programs implemented in more than 41 of the most developed countries, but also to cover the greatest number of emergency physicians. The ATLS course targets emergency physicians, practicing or training surgeons as well as anesthesiologists and reanimation physicians. This course is also open to the Red Cross emergency workers. The main objective of this course is to teach these different types of specialists a single protocol for optimizing the treatment of gravely injured individuals during the first hour following the accident.
The fundraising allows a maximum number of physicians, chosen from all regions of Lebanon, to take this course free of charge at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. All registered doctors will receive a certificate from the American College of Surgeons (USA) upon the completion of the course.Achievements of Roads for Life till today
- The first fundraising phase for the ATLS course took place through a concert entitled "Roads for Life" in tribute of Talal Kassem where Fransabank was the main sponsor of this concert. A good number of Fransabank Staff and Fransabank clients attended this concert. It was a great success and gathered more than 2,500 persons around a cause that has become a national one, that of going beyond traditional limits while concentrating on those principles uniting us as human beings and advocating for saving lives.
- The concert raised a total amount of USD 100,000 - The amount of USD 97,500 will be allocated for the training of 130 physicians, or USD 750 per doctor over 3 consecutive days and USD 2,500 for Red Cross participants.
- The graduation ceremony was held for 60 doctors from the hospitals participating in the ATLS course, as well as volunteers from the Lebanese Red Cross. All the 60 doctors received certificate from the American College of Surgeons (USA) upon the completion of the course.
- More doctors specialized in ER medicine and more hospitals are registering in sessions that will be given in the near future on behalf of the Talal Kassem Fund, to cover ~ 130 doctors and dozens of hospitals from different Lebanese regions.
- Fransabank also sponsored the first fund raising diner for Roads For Life and a total amount of USD 608,000 was collected.
- Roads for Life was recently invited to a conference organized by the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco. Roads for Life, in collaboration with AUBMC , is actively working on getting necessary funds to cover the costs of ATNS courses, dedicated to emergency nurses, and PHTLS courses dedicated to paramedics and rescue teams, such as the Lebanese Red Cross, the Lebanese Red Crescent and the Lebanese Civil Defense.
For a Healthier Youth with Skoun
Fransabank supported Skoun in its mission of advocating for the prevention of drug dependency and other addictions. It sponsored Skoun’s 6th annual gala dinner where hundreds of well-heeled guests took part in the colourful festivities.
A Walk for Hope and Better Tomorrows!
Fransabank supported for the 2nd consecutive year the humanitarian “Walk with Al Younbouh”, an annual awareness and fund raising event for less privileged people with special needs.
In Support of Autism Get Through to Them by Seeing Things their Way
Fransabank also sponsored for the 2nd consecutive year the event of the Autism Association for Social Integration- AASI. Fransabank commitment to children with autism translates its belief in the uniqueness of every individual and people’s potential to excel and overpass difficulties when given the right chances in the right places and the proper support.
National Eye Bank
Fransabank donated to the National Eye Bank Center in Lebanon which is responsible for the procurement of corneas from donors, process and distribution of cornea tissues of the highest quality for transplantation.
Center for Osteoporosis
Fransabank donated to the Center for Osteoporosis to help enhance knowledge and expert care for osteoporosis and other metabolic bone disorders in Lebanon through education, research and service.