As part of L’Oréal’s continuous efforts and commitment to support women’s rights and contribution to society, L’Oréal Fund for Women has pledged €225,000 to ABAAD and Farah Social Foundation (FSF), two Lebanese non-profit organizations, to further their mission of protecting, advocating, and empowering women in Lebanon.
The pledge was announced at a women’s empowerment panel discussion at ESA Business School Beirut on Tuesday, 21st of March 2023. The event was held under the patronage and in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Ziad Makary, Lebanese Minister of information. It was attended by Mr. Vismay Sharma, President of L’Oréal SAPMENA zone and member of L’Oréal Group Executive Committee, and more than 250 guests including government officials, diplomats, representatives of UN Global Compact Lebanon, UN Women, and NGOs.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities, affecting women socially and economically at a disproportionate level as well as increased cases of domestic abuse. Against this backdrop and under “L’Oréal For the Future” program, the 2030 sustainable development roadmap, the Group launched the L'Oréal Fund for Women in 2020, a three-year charitable endowment fund of 50 million euros to support highly vulnerable women around the world.
Mr. Vismay Sharma, President of L’Oreal SAPMENA zone stated: “With the L’Oréal Fund for Women, our aim is to help the most vulnerable women in our communities to gain access to education, find work, fight abuse, violence and poverty.” He added that “L’Oréal has already supported more than 1.2 million women and girls worldwide, through partnerships with 480 charities and partners in 77 countries.” Vismay also expressed his happiness to be present in Lebanon to announce the launch of new partnerships with two leading Lebanese NGOs. He hoped this contribution will make a positive change in the daily lives of those who have been most affected by crises, including women refugees and women with disabilities.
From her end, Mrs. Emilie Wahab Harb, Managing Director of L’Oréal Liban commented on the partnership with ABAAD and Farah Social Foundation saying that “L’Oréal Liban has a very proud history of empowering women and helping them to actively contribute to shape a better Lebanon for the future.” She added “the numerous crises in Lebanon spares no one and has had devastating effects on people who were already struggling socially and economically or were victims of abuse, especially women.” Furthermore, she explained that “as a Group championing the cause of women, it was essential to play an active role towards tangible improvements in Lebanon by helping the most vulnerable women get out of poverty and preventing domestic and sexual violence, and support survivors”.
On this occasion, His Excellency Minister Ziad Makary stated: "As the patron of this women empowerment panel, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to L'Oréal for their unwavering commitment to the cause of women. Their support and investment in empowering women, is truly commendable and is a testament to their dedication to creating a more equitable and just society.” He added that: “by working on the advancement of the rights and opportunities of women, L'Oréal is not only making a positive impact on the lives of countless individuals but is also contributing to the overall progress and development of our society.”
ABAAD, the leading organization of its kind in the country, which provides 24/7 crisis support for survivors of abuse and domestic violence, will utilize the funds to provide awareness and sensitization sessions to women and girls survivors or at risk of GBV. In this regard, the funds will be used to support the most vulnerable among them through vocational training to develop new skills, reinforce their agency and autonomy, and foster their self-esteem. With the support of L’Oréal Fund for Women, ABAAD has the objective of supporting more than 4,370 women and girls directly, in addition to around 22,800 indirectly in their communities.
Mrs. Ghida Anani, Founder and Director of the NGO said: “Empowerment of women is about leadership and agency, which can just be realized when we start actively and genuinely listening to women we serve, engaging them in the planning and thinking, and ensure they lead the way in voicing out their rights and power.”
Farah Social Foundation has been actively contributing to the development of the local community on social and economic levels, especially the disadvantaged ones. The NGO will utilize the fund to extend its mission while offering vocational trainings in redesigning items and producing healthy snacks to 1,200 women and female youth from 8 different areas across Lebanon. In addition, FSF will be providing women with an opportunity to start their own businesses. With the support of L'Oréal Funds for Women, the NGO’s objective is to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable women across the country, eradicate poverty, and empower individuals to participate in the development of themselves and their communities.
Dr. Habbouba Aoun, the NGO president said: "Women play an important role in fighting poverty and advancing their families. Evidence shows that empowered women are behind any local community development. Women’s contribution to the economies of their families and women’s economic independence are key to healthy kids, youth, families, and communities in general."