Update after a little over one month - THANK YOU!
Ever since the beginning of this campaign on August 29th the Nation Station team has been humbled be the massive support experienced from everyone who has either contributed by donating, sending kind words, or spreading the word about the project around the world.
The overwhelming response, in addition to continuing requests to donate has led us to raise the goal for this campaign to 20.000€. At this point, a big big thank you to everyone who so far has contributed and also thank you to each and everyone who will continue to do so from now on.
The impact the Nation Station and all of its volunteers has had on the neighborhood is graspable and you can follow every update on the official website now under www.thenationstation.org
To give everyone a quick overview of some of the stats, here is a quick overview as of today, September 22nd, 2020:
16.500 hot meals distributed
209 aid kits distributed
700 houses assessed
12 houses completed
13 houses referred to other NGOs
18 houses ongoing work
Nation Station - Disaster Relief and Community Hub
As media attention is slowly but steadily fading from the blast in Beirut on August 4th, help for the citizens of Beirut is still much needed. The initial aid efforts have been overwhelming and many respectable initiatives and organizations have received the necessary support to provide disaster relief. As did the Nation Station.
The Nation Station was started by a small group of neighbors in Beirut's Geitawi neighborhood, namely Josephine Abou Abdo, Mazen al Murr, and siblings Aya and Hussein Kazoun. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the blast site and housed in the abandoned building of a former gas station. The gesture served primarily to convey a sense of community and a message of solidarity, giving hope and consolation to a traumatized neighborhood.
What has happened so far
Initial efforts focused rigorously on immediate disaster relief: cooking and distributing food for those who cannot do so, either because they can not access their homes, or because of economic difficulty; locating and mapping people in need as well as their relief requirements; helping existing organizations to coordinate their relief efforts to match the needs of those in the area around the Nation Station; cleaning up and fixing wall openings due to the blast with temporary windows out of nylon tarps. By joining forces with John Achkar and his team from “jil el naylon”, and together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the station was swiftly rebuilt, turning it into a fully functional aid center complete with water and power supply, a small office area, internet access, and a storage facility, housing a growing inventory of supplies.
Core Activities - What your donation will be used for
This initial phase of relief provision is planned to be gradually phased out within the first 60 days after the explosion. The purpose of Nation Station will gradually transform, with the long-term purpose of becoming a self-sustaining community hub. This phase was supported in parts by private donations from friends and friends of friends of the organizers of the Nation Station, from around the world. In order to continue these efforts, further donations will be needed. The goal for the Nation Station is to evolve from an immediate relief center to a long-term, self-sustaining community hub and platform of collaboration with upcoming crisis intervention initiatives, with the following tasks at its core:
- Continue to act as a relief station providing constant meals a day to people from
all over Beirut, but also serving volunteers helping with repair work around the area.
- Provide the affected individuals and households with initial, immediate assistance including food boxes /cleaning utilities, medication, and sealing of broken
windows and doors (“jil al naylon” a separate initiative that joined forces with Nation Station providing plastic film to temporarily seal people’s destroyed windows).
- Collect data on the affected individuals and households through a primary
assessment to ensure that aid is provided to those most in need, and other NGOs are provided with a reliable fundament of information, enabling them to provide their assistance more efficiently and effectively.
- Coordinate teams of volunteers to deliver primary relief in a systematic way, zone by zone, street by street, apartment by apartment, family by family, case by case. While providing primary relief, the teams simultaneously record all necessary data needed to efficiently provide sustainable assistance. Generating reliable data is at the core of Nation Station’s effort.
- Provide households identified and registered as particularly vulnerable with a steady stream of care packages including food (hot meals, fresh fruits, vegetables), toiletries, and non-prescription medication. Refer cases with chronic illnesses or special needs, as well as people in need of relocation, glass replacement, carpentry, and assessment of the structural integrity of the building to the respective organizations.
- Establish a community hub in the neighborhood of Geitawi, promoting social
interaction, a sense of community and solidarity, and aiding the local economy.
With this system in place and the holding of regular democratic meetings, the station can effectively fill the void left by the corrupt, incompetent and indifferent government, earning it the name “Nation Station”.
Your Contribution and the Future of Nation Station
The activities and needs are evolving with the development of the situation in Beirut over the next weeks and months. With new measures related to the COVID situation, such as curfews, coming up, activities might be restricted and the focus of the efforts of all involved in the Nation Station will have to shift quickly to be able to continue their efforts to support their community. With your donations, which will be transferred directly to the organizers (either Aya, Hussein, Josephine, or Mazen), you are contributing in the most direct way possible to support the rebuilding of the Lebanese capital and the strengthening of its people. All of this is more than essential in a time where support from more traditional sources seems nonexistent, or rather seems to even go against the well being of the people. Follow this campaign further in order to stay informed on the situation, the evolution of the Nation Station into a sustainable institution in the heart of Beirut, and their respective needs. In addition, you can see them at work and daily updates about the situation on the ground on Instagram on their account at @nationstation__ or on their facebook page under https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Product-Service/Nation-Station-641401956507317/
Nation Station in the media
The project has received some media attention globally. The following links are to international news outlets. Further coverage will be added over time.
I may speak collectively for a group of international friends who had the privilege to have studied with Josephine and Mazen from August 2015 to the beginning of 2018. A period of looking at a future of possibilities that now seems eternities away. Last year some of us could even travel to Beirut to attend their wedding, getting to know the very streets that have now been destroyed and cleaned up by the people of nation station. With this personal connection, plus the experiences we were able to make in this unique city, we feel a strong urge to help them as much as we possibly can from abroad.
Just days after the blast we have started collecting donations privately and managed to collect and transfer about 2000€ as first response aid. With the Nation Station developing from immediate disaster relief to a community hub providing sustainable aid, we want to support them through this campaign and invite you to do so by contributing as well.
- Chloé Stückelschweiger
- Carol Hollinger
- Helmut Goerke
Organizer and beneficiary
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