Celebrating CLES’ 20 Years
More than 120 people, team and board members of the Lebanese Center for Special Education (CLES), as well as specialists in education and learning disabilities who came from Belgium, in addition to members of NDI (National Dance Institute of New York) celebrated on Saturday, October 5th, 2019, between Kefraya and Ammiq (Beqaa), the 20 years of hope, generosity and success, thanks to hard and diligent efforts, just like seeds that were carefully sown.
The seed of CLES sprouted and budded. Today, thousands of children, teenagers and young people are bearing its fruit. It has given hope to many people who have suffered, as well as their parents, from specific learning disorders, all over the Lebanese territory.
The Seed of Hope
It is from this perspective that the admin of CLES, presided by its founder, Mrs. Carmen Chahine Debbane, wanted the celebration to be inspired by the hard work that started as a seed, and grew with love to encompass the whole country. Hence, they chose the noblest and oldest job in the world to represent it: agriculture and plantation in Kefraya (Bekaa).
As a result, 20 locations were chosen to plant pine seeds on the occasion of 20 years of free and unconditional work at CLES, just as the land generously offers its fruits, and with the collaboration of the American University of Beirut (AUB), as part of the “Seeds of Hope” initiative.
Understand your Child
During the ceremony, a digital platform “Understanding Your Child” was launched in collaboration with the organization “Lebanese Alternative Learning”. This interactive platform allows parents of children with specific learning disabilities to ask questions and get answers. It aims at assessing parents’ level of comprehension of their child’s case, helping them understand it better, and explaining its details, the ways to diagnose it, live with it and ask for help. The platform includes the following specific learning disabilities:
Learn more: https://cles.org/parents
The activity was filled with joy, optimism and pride taken in all those years that have passed with difficulty, working in a totally unknown field, where a large number of children needed guidance and diagnosis, and whose parents did not know where to go or whom to ask. The festivities stretched from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The group of participants left Beirut at 9 am and stopped for the first time in Kefraya at 11 am to sow the seeds of hope.
The festivities also included a visit to the Ammiq region, breathtaking by its nature and scenery, followed by a joyous country lunch, before heading back to Beirut.
Mrs. Debbane said: “Twenty years ago, we decided at CLES to deal with learning disabilities, and to be all of us, team, management and friends, at the service of these children and their parents, in order to progress in education and learning towards a better future. Nothing could hamper our will to fight this problem. In fact, we break obstacles and overcome pressures in order to free children from learning disabilities.”
Twenty years ago, Carmen Chahine Debbane decided to counter the problem of specific learning disorders, by founding the Lebanese Center for Special Education (CLES), which plays a major role in this field. Back then, very little attention was paid in Lebanon to specific learning disorders, due to the lack of awareness towards this problem, which might have dangerous repercussions on the future of the children, if the troubles are not treated. However, the hard work of a number of well-intentioned people has greatly contributed to the change of this reality.