Gesture from the Heart – supporting elderly people in Lebanon

By Denise
Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with Paola
of  Gesture from
the Heart
, an organization in Lebanon, working to support elderly
people. Would like to thank Paola for her time.

How was founded Gesture from the Heart?

GFTH was launched on Christmas 2011 through a spontaneous idea on
facebook. The aim was to provide a generous food pack for the abandoned elders
and families in need in our community as well a Christmas dinner. To my
surprise, the number of people below poverty line exceeded my expectations by
far. When I presented the idea together with my findings to my family and
friends, I was surprised by their support as they were all willing to help both
financially and physically. Having this support, I started the food packs
project and displayed it on Facebook. To my second surprise, all my friends and
some unknown people to me on Facebook where already sending me their donations
and from here we founded Gesture From The Heart a non-political, non-religious
organization registered in the Lebanese government.
What are the main social issues in your region of intervention?
Poverty is increasing day by day. There is a complete lack of
governmental help and support. Thus Gesture From The Heart is trying to cover
different aspects of the seniors lives such providing access to decent food by
providing a weekly hot meal for the elders through our project “Meal From The
Heart” and distributing big food packs that covers a minimum of 6 months ,
winterization in order to ensure that our seniors are warm during the cold
season and this by providing blankets and heaters, house restoration in order
to allow our seniors to live in warm shelter and helping the elders with their
medication fees as well interfering if there any emergency.
In what ways do you support children and widows?
For children, we do offer them some recreational activities once a
year. We provide them with free cakes, orange juices, popcorns, lollipops, and
cotton candy in addition.
For the widows, currently we do try to provide them with project
based jobs and this through creating our own brand of jam and through baking for
Christmas and Easter traditional food so we can sell them as well cooking for
the elders.
How do you promote community empowerment?
We try to engage more people and organizations to our cause and
this by introducing them to our activities as well to ours seniors needs.
Gesture From The Heart provided a free public training for women
about jam making.
Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes,

There is a complete absence with the local authorities and
institutions. Total despair. The region has been left unattended for so long a
period that all good wills started by private people has been drained with

What is your next project?

Our next project is the creation of a daily care center for the
elders. The aim of the center is to provide a social integration for the elders’
as well different activities such recreational and mental activities and an
access to good nutrition.

For contacts: