Amel Association had the pleasure and the honor to welcome Ann McLaughlin, the founder and director of NGOabroad, last week. This American NGO is a “unique service that helps you enter or advance in international humanitarian work and provides frugal, customized international volunteer opportunities”. Thus, the aim of Ann McLaughlin’s visit was to create a partnership with Amel to identify volunteers in the US and send them to Lebanon to work in the field.

For four days, Ann McLaughlin visited Amel’s many centers and medical and educational mobile units in the West Bekaa, Beirut, and South Lebanon. First, Ms. McLaughlin and Amel’s team went to the Mashgharah center located in the West Bekaa, which deals with child protection, health, livelihood, and self-empowerment. In the South, they visited the centers of Tyre, Bazouriyeh, and Khiam. The Tyre center is providing primary health care, psycho-social support, physical therapy and, awareness sessions. The Bazouriyeh center is part of the Lebanese Ministry of Health’s primary health care network and includes a dental clinic, a mammography machine and an analysis laboratory. The Khiam center offers primary health care services and psycho-social support for elderly populations, as well as livelihood. Ms. McLaughlin also visited the development centers in Beirut (Haye El Sellom, Bourj El Barajneh, Ain El Remmaneh and Haret Hreik), which provide primary health care, child protection, food security services, as well as protection and professional training activities. The Mobile Medical Units in the West Bekaa, in Khiam and in Tyre, provide free basic medical care and medicine distribution. These mobile units come directly to the people in need, going to municipality centers and refugee camps. Although mainly Syrian refugees are coming to the centers, Amel welcomes and cares for everyone regardless of their origins and religion.

Through these visits, Ms. McLaughlin was able to assess Amel’s staffing needs based on the type of work that Amel does. As a social worker, Ms. McLaughlin understands the challenges that Amel faces and shared her experience with the people working in the field.