Photo credit: IRC

Hygiene kits help protect families from COVID-19

“I lived through various conflicts in Lebanon but what happened to us from this explosion is more catastrophic,” said Walid Chandin AL-Sa’id.

AL-Sa’id is the 55-year-old married father of two children, a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. His family lives in the Karantina neighbourhood of Beirut, Lebanon.

The entire family was injured and traumatized by the explosion. AL-Sa’id remembers having a piece of glass in his leg but feeling no pain. All he could think about was his children.

He found his 4-year-old daughter Yara lying quietly, completely unresponsive. When they got to the hospital, there were delays and complications before Yara could be treated for her neck and face injuries. It would be another 10 days until she could walk again.

“What is important is that my children live well,” said AL-Sa’id.

AL-Sa’id has been struggling to support his family since the explosion. He used to work full-time as a driver for a medical company. Between COVID-19, the Beirut explosion and the recession, the company has drastically cut his hours and his pay.

He has taken out a loan to cover the costs of tuition and keep his two children in school. Occasionally, he receives food boxes from local charities. Every little bit helps.

As a part of the Humanitarian Coalition, Islamic Relief Canada has been working in Beirut since the blast to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

One of their many humanitarian aid projects is to distribute hygiene kits so families can continue to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19. It is essential that families like AL-Sa’id have the tools they need, like hand soap, so they can maintain best practices during the pandemic.

“We received this hygiene kit from Islamic Relief which will help us, especially with the COVID pandemic in Lebanon these days,” said AL-Sa’id.

AL-Sa’id says that his family is just one of many living in very difficult situations, but in spite of everything, he is determined to stay strong.