The orphanage of the Imam Sadr Foundation (ISF) was established in 1977 in response to an urgent need that grew during the civil war and the repeated invasions. This charitable institution’s main focus is to provide lodging and comprehensive care for orphaned girls (including food, health, educational and social requirements).
The Program aims to build the personality of the orphan girl both morally and socially while still working to remove the negative consequences of previous hardships and ordeals. Unique in its thoroughness and stability, the program endeavors to guide the students to reach the college education or to other empowering skills. Since 2002, the program has extended the outreach of its services to local families.
Institutional care for orphaned girls and other social cases1977
Aimed to alleviate the stigma of orphanhood and raise strong individuals capable of overcoming the challenges of the past, the program is characterized by its comprehensive coverage of all aspects of life and by its sustainability up to the university level (with an average of 400 female matriculants per year). The program offers shelter, care, and education to orphaned girls as of the age of five. The girls remain in the custody of the program until the university level. The program meets all the nutritional, health, educational, and social needs of the students in addition to providing for wedding ceremonies, vocational training, and job placement. To meet those needs, auxiliary facilities were constructed such as lavatories, cafeteria, dispensary, vocational training program, and much more.
The Sadr Foundation girls’ orphanage has been operating for 35 years. It was founded to respond to an urgent need which soon became even more critical with the long periods of war and growing number of casualties, including the loss of a father, mother, or both. It should be noted that the issue of orphanhood in the South is more severe than elsewhere in Lebanon as a result of the Israeli occupation and the suffering it created. As military clashes abated and charity foundations spread, the number of orphaned girls in need of such services decreased. However, given the dire circumstances of the population, and in order to alleviate the burden of care, education, and other needs, parents increasingly resorted to enrolling their girls (not orphaned) at the orphanage. As such, the proportion of those classified as social cases (i.e. not orphans) became close to 50 percent of the total number of program beneficiaries, whereas they only accounted for 2 percent at the outset of the program in 1977. This called for a radical change in the delivery of care from an institutional to an at-home setting.
At-home care for girls2002
The girls return home to their parents at the end of each school day but still enjoy all other services and benefits which institutional care entitles them to. Such an arrangement allows the program to expand its reach to the parents with a range of services and constitutes an extension of the institutional care program. Its only distinctive feature is that girls spend the night with their families whenever possible with regards to distance and the availability of a family home. In addition to providing transportation for the girls, the program delivers assistance and counseling to the remaining members of the household through a team of female guidance counselors and social workers under the supervision of psychologists and sociologists. The program’s chief offerings are counseling and social assistance to the parents via two parallel mechanisms: 1) direct at-home or in-office service and 2) group sharing and awareness sessions. As a result, parents benefit from the experiences of other parents and from the issues raised during discussion sessions.
The service cares for the children of mothers working at the Tyre cultural complex so that they can work without having to worry about their children given that they are a short distance away. The service also allows mothers to enjoy their natural right to breastfeeding and caring for their children in a safe and healthy environment.