CLES and Virgin Radio Lebanon launch: LET’S MUSIC 

A competition that celebrates Lebanese talents and bridges the gap for children with learning disabilities.

Established in 1999, the Lebanese Center for Special Education was founded by Carmen Chahine Debbane to help the growing number of children with specific learning difficulties in Lebanon. There was little awareness of these issues back then, and those children were regarded as lazy or dumb. With the right tools, CLES has managed to help thousands of students through personalized one-to-one therapies.

In addition to movement therapy, speech therapy, and psychological support, CLES has always believed in the power of art to build bridges and shorten the gaps for children with specific learning difficulties.

The outreach programs at CLES have grown through the years to include theatre, dance, and movies. Despite the pandemic putting everything on halt, Our Dance by CLES team kept its activity going through online classes, adding positive vibes and lifting the spirit of the children during the lockdown. The program reached 2,300 children in private and public schools.

With theatre being a great means of communicating messages by triggering the audience’s emotions, CLES produced a play- “What’s wrong with me, mom?” and toured it in more than 100 schools from 2012 to 2019. The play talks about a child with learning difficulties questioning whether there is something wrong with him or her as he or she cannot keep up at school and in life. The play aimed at raising awareness among the parents and teachers, and acted as an educational platform for children, inviting them to be kinder to one another and more accepting of their differences.

In 2021, CLES launched “Art by CLES,” a competition to fully fund Lebanese films that tackle the subject of specific learning difficulties. The five winning films were featured at the movie theatre on the day of specific learning difficulties, October 10: 10.10.DYS

For the second edition of “Art by CLES,” CLES partnered with Virgin Radio Lebanon to celebrate art through music. Out of her personal experience, Carmen Chahine Debbane, CEO of CLES, discovered the formidable effects of art on children with learning difficulties when her son, Charles, used the art of drawing as a form of self-expression.

“The more Charles drew, the better he felt. His way of communicating with us transcended words, numbers, and signs. He drew his emotions, fears, and hopes. Charles constantly listens to music. He lives the music in his ears, and it has been of great help for him.” Says Carmen. “Today, we partner with Virgin radio Lebanon to celebrate our talented youth who are using art lyrically, instrumentally, and vividly as a way to connect, surpassing differences and applauding inclusion.”

LET’S MUSIC is a contest organized by Virgin Radio Lebanon and CLES. It invites Lebanese talents to showcase their music, singing voices, and instrumental talents by sending a video of their work to Virgin’s Instagram channel via direct message. The competition will include people’s votes and a jury vote, ending in a winner for each category. The winners will receive the support of Virgin Radio Lebanon and will benefit from their exceptional Media outreach.

“Virgin Radio Lebanon has long been a supporter of Local Talents. Since its launch nine years ago, we have prioritized featuring local talents. However, we have always had the ambition that aside from giving the Talents exposure mainly on Virgin Radio Lebanon’s social media, there is so much more we can do to help.” Says Najy Cherabieh, CEO of Virgin Radio Lebanon. Najy has bigger hopes for this endeavor, where winning talents can be adopted and have their music produced and played on Virgin Radio Lebanon, Virgin Radio Stars, and possibly various radio stations worldwide.

The contest is currently running on Virgin Radio Lebanon’s social media platforms and CLES’s platforms. We highly encourage talents, including those with learning difficulties, to submit their musical talents through a video.

Let us bridge gaps, and let us MUSIC.