One of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world recently celebrated 30 years since its establishment in Lebanon.
World Vision International, which works for the well being of people across six continents, currently provides assistance to the poorer members of Lebanese society by enhancing their education systems, improving their health care, increasing agricultural output, creating jobs, fostering self-development, and nurturing their youth.
"We aim to raise public awareness and promote justice by helping people understand the roots of poverty, said the national director of World Vision Lebanon, Bruce Menser.
World Vision first and foremost promotes people's involvement in the improvement of their own communities, and government policies that alleviate poverty," Menser told the Beirut-based Daily Star.
When World Vision International began its work in the country in 1975, the global agency focused on supporting children's education projects and providing emergency relief during the Lebanese civil war. However, Menser told the Daily Star that in recent years they have "gradually moved to participatory community development projects in an attempt to enhance our program's impact on children, families and communities."
"Such projects have a long-term, sustainable effect on the community whereby individuals are able to attend to their own social and spiritual needs once World Vision has left the community," Menser said, adding that children were the focus of World Vision Lebanon's program.
"Children's centers with activities providing educational and recreational support have been established and integrated into communities where WV Lebanon is operating," he continued.
"World Vision also works closely with community youth leaders, providing them with training that enables them to organize and implement children's activities in accordance with the principles of the children's rights convention.
The Daily Star reports that World Vision's community development project are including programs focusing on education, agriculture, and vocational and skills training that aim to develop the capacities of children, parents and communities alike.
"Attained through a participatory approach, these activities provide better living conditions for children, parents and the community as well as ensuring the sustainability of the community projects," Menser told the Star.
World Visions work in Lebanon began 25 years after the international agency was founded in 1950 by Dr. Bob Pierce in response to the needs of Korean War orphans. Since its founding, World Vision it has grown to include fund raising offices in countries in North America, Europe and the Far East. Lately, more and more offices in countries traditionally perceived as beneficiary nations are also raising their own funds.