In 2017, Amel and Caritas Germany initiated a partnership in relation to psycho-social support for elderly. The project, launched in July 2017, will benefit at least 500 elder people (50% Syrian refugees, 50% Lebanese), following a gender-based approach and 500 members of the community.
It includes the following activities:
• Collective Garden and Distribution of Fruit and Vegetable Baskets
With the support of a consultant, contracted by Amel, the garden space surrounding the Khiam community center will be redesigned to host a collective garden, including horizontal plantations. This garden will include seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The consultant will also build the capacities of the trainees on how to maintain the garden and on how to make compost. All the supplies used for this garden will be natural and the garden will be organic. Gardening sessions will be organized on a weekly basis by a gardening instructor and safe transportation to the center will be provided by Amel for the elder people. The products grown in the garden will be distributed to the beneficiaries. Moreover and during the project, gardening tool kits will be given to the beneficiaries to allow them to do small gardens at their own homes. This will enable beneficiaries to sustain their livelihood.
Regarding the gardening classes, the garden instructor started with an introductory session about the topics that will be covered during the cycle. So far, the topics covered included the planting conditions and the diseases that may occur for different types of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and parsley. In addition, the sessions included practical activities. All the sessions are being conducted as PowerPoint presentations.
• Collective Kitchen and Distribution of Hot Meals
A kitchen already exists at the center and will be upgraded to host food production courses. On a weekly basis, food production courses will be held at the center. Menus and types of production will be designed by the cooking instructor, with the support of a nutritionist. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs produced in the garden will be used for the cooking classes. Moreover, cooking toolkits will be given to the beneficiaries to allow them to cook at their homes and produce food for their relatives. This will contribute to sustaining the livelihood of the beneficiaries. Hot meals, produced during the courses, will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
• Awareness Sessions on Nutrition, Environment and relevant issues to the elderly populations
On a weekly basis, the nutritionist and the social worker will organize awareness sessions on nutrition and environment for the elder people. This will enable them to gain information on enhancing their nutrition and taking the environment into consideration in their daily lives.
• Psycho-social Support
With the support of the social worker, 4 community events (including occupational therapy/handicraft, sports activities) gathering the elder individuals involved in the project but also members of the community (inter-generational activities), will be organized. These events will be related to environment and nutrition. For instance, an event could be organized on the occasion of the world earth day and collective dinners will be organized. Moreover and on a weekly basis, the psychologist will provide counseling sessions for the elderly upon the referral of the social worker, who will also be in charge of the implementation of the activities, at the center level.