Lebanon on Wheels

Lebanon on Wheels

This summer, Auguste Breteau and George Varley will be raising money for three Lebanese children Toufic, Abbas and Ahmad. They will attempt to do this by cycling from London to Athens in the hope that this physical challenge will engender support from friends, families and all those who hear about Toufic and the other boys’ situations. Their journey entails spending 6 weeks on bikes; their distance being approximately between two and a half to three thousand miles.

“Project Toufic,” has the potential to bring a life-changing opportunity to three young boys. It is a project that will operate in cooperation with the Lebanese and German associations of the Order of Malta.

Toufic is a thirteen-year-old boy who lives in a psychiatric institution for people with physical and mental disabilities in Lebanon, run by nuns.

The handicapped in Lebanon aren´t given the care or support that is thankfully familiar to much of Western Europe. The homes have few public funds at their disposal and as a consequence most of the institutions are hopelessly overcrowded and have trouble finding suitable personnel. The nuns and caretakers work with huge amounts of love and ensure that the key elements of day to day life are accomplished (feeding, washing, diaper changing and so on).

Toufic suffers from severe mental disability and as a result can barely speak. Apart from a few sounds, he is very restricted in his communication and his everyday life is rendered far more difficult. As a further consequence of this, some of his social skills are underdeveloped, such as his ability to integrate within a group.

Toufic has two friends called Abbas and Ahmad who live with him in the care home. Abbas is twelve years old and suffers from a non-operable brain tumor as well as also being slightly mentally handicapped. He is a very joyful and happy boy who is very aware of his surroundings and events taking place around him. Ahmad is a bright, adorable, twelve year old boy, who is mentally challenged.

Marie Brauchitsch and Nicolaus Limbourg, both participated in the Order of Malta’s “Caravan” project and accompanied Toufic for ten months each. During that time, they had the chance to get to know Toufic´s extraordinary character and to develop a strong connection with him. They were both deeply touched by his personality and the way he sees the world around him.

The aim of the project is to provide Toufic, Abbas and Ahmad with lessons given by a special pedagogue three times a week for six hours each, in order to optimally support the three of them. Based on those classes, Toufic may well get much needed speech therapy in the long run. To make this happen €4800 are needed per year. This money would be fully used to support Toufic, Abbas and Ahmad and would ensure the running of the classes for one year. All expenses would be covered by this amount.

Toufic, Abbas and Ahmad Toufic are boys with lots of potential and talent. At their age, they are very capable to learn a huge amount and benefit from a tailored education. This chance must not be taken away from them due to a lack of funding. Thanks to your donation, not only the childhood but the whole life of our friends can be greatly improved.